Efficient AUV Navigation Fusing Acoustic Ranging and Side-scan Sonar

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“Efficient AUV Navigation Fusing Acoustic Ranging and Side-scan Sonar” by M.F. Fallon, M. Kaess, H. Johannsson, and J.J. Leonard. In Proc. IEEE Intl. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, ICRA, (Shanghai, China), May 2011, pp. 2398-2405. Best automation paper finalist (one of five).


This paper presents an on-line Nonlinear Least Squares algorithm for multi-sensor autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) navigation. The approach integrates the global and relative pose constraints arising from: (1) the range to and GPS position of a surface vehicle or buoy communicated via acoustic modems, and (2) the location of targets detected in side-scan sonar images. The approach utilizes an efficient optimization algorithm, iSAM, which allows for consistent online estimation of the entire set of trajectory constraints. The optimized trajectory can then be used to more accurately navigate the AUV, to extend mission duration, and to avoid GPS surfacing. As iSAM provides efficient access to the marginal covariances of previously observed features, automatic data association is greatly simplified - particularly in sparse marine environments. A key feature of our approach is intended its scalability to a single surface broadcast of the GPS position and simultaneous one-way travel time ranging (OWTT) on multiple AUVs. We discuss why our approach is fully scalable as well as robust to modem transmission failure. Results are provided for an ocean experiment using a Hydroid REMUS 100 AUV cooperating with one of two craft: an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) and a manned support vessel. During these experiment the ranging portion of the algorithm ran on-line on-board the AUV. Extension of the paradigm to multiple missions via the optimization of successive survey missions (and the resultant sonar mosaics) is also demonstrated.

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BibTeX entry:

   author = {M.F. Fallon and M. Kaess and H. Johannsson and J.J. Leonard},
   title = {Efficient {AUV} Navigation Fusing Acoustic Ranging and
	Side-scan Sonar},
   booktitle = {Proc. IEEE Intl. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, ICRA},
   pages = {2398-2405},
   address = {Shanghai, China},
   month = may,
   year = {2011},
   note = {Best automation paper finalist (one of five).}
Last updated: March 21, 2023