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Data-driven Learning and Modeling of AUV Operational Characteristics for Optimal Path Planning

Edwards, J., J. Smith, A. Girard, D. Wickman, P.F.J. Lermusiaux, D.N. Subramani, P.J. Haley, Jr., C. Mirabito, C.S. Kulkarni, and, S. Jana, 2017. Data-driven Learning and Modeling of AUV Operational Characteristics for Optimal Path Planning. In: Oceans '17 MTS/IEEE Aberdeen, 1-5, 19-22 June 2017, DOI: 10.1109/OCEANSE.2017.8084779

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are used to execute an increasingly challenging set of missions in commercial, environmental and defense industries. The resources available to the AUV in service of these missions are typically a limited power supply and onboard sensing of its local environment. Optimal path planning is needed to maximize the chances that these AUVs will successfully complete long endurance missions within their power budget. A time-optimal path planner has been recently developed to minimize AUV mission time required to traverse a dynamic ocean environment at a specified speed through the water. For many missions, time minimization is appropriate because the AUVs operate at a fixed propeller speed. However, the ultimate limiting constraint on AUV operations is often the onboard power supply, rather than mission time. While an empirical or theoretical relationship between mission time and power could be applied to estimate power usage in the path planner, the real power usage and availability on an AUV varies mission-to-mission, as a result of multiple factors, including vehicle buoyancy, battery charge cycle, fin configuration, and water type or quality. In this work, we use data collected from two mid-size AUVs operating in various conditions to learn the mission-to-mission variability in the power budget so that it could be incorporated into the mission planner.