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BathyBoat: An Autonomous Surface Vessel for Stand-alone Survey and Underwater Vehicle Network Supervision

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Exploration of remote environments, once the domain of intrepid adventurers, can now be conducted in relative safety using unmanned vehicles. This article describes the joint University of Michigan (UMich) and Michigan Tech Research Institute’s project to design and to build a new autonomous surface vessel (ASV) for use in research, education, and resource management as well as in the commercial sector.

Originally designed to assist with bathymetric surveys in the wilderness of northern Alaska, the BathyBoat has become a test-bed platform for new research in collaborative heterogeneous underwater robotic search and survey missions in ports, harbors, lakes, and rivers. The UMich Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories are actively researching autonomous technologies such as cooperative navigation, surface vessel control, and multivehicle search and survey using the BathyBoat and the UMich Perceptual Robotics Laboratory’s Iver2 autonomous underwater vehicles.

This article presents an overview of these research topics and highlights relevant real-world testing and recent missions involving the BathyBoat ASV on Alaska’s North Slope, the harbors of Illinois, and various riverine environments in Michigan.
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Keywords: ASV; Autonomous test bed; Cooperative; Network; Remote survey

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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