Bluefin Robotics takes step toward autonomous adaptive collaboration among unmanned underwater vehicles

QUINCY, Mass., 18 July 2011. Bluefin Robotics Corp. in Quincy, Mass., took a step closer to developing a hybrid network of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) for adaptive and collaborative ocean sensing without continuous communication with UUV operators, with a demonstration of MOOS-IvP autonomy system software, Bluefin officials announced Friday. MOOS-IvP is a set of third-party open-source C++ software modules that provide autonomy for robotic vehicles. Researchers demonstrated the machine autonomy software on a Bluefin-9 UUV in Boston Harbor.

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QUINCY, Mass., 18 July 2011. Bluefin Robotics Corp. in Quincy, Mass., took a step closer to developing a hybrid network of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) for autonomous adaptive collaboration among UUVs for ocean sensing without continuous communication with UUV operators, with a demonstration of MOOS-IvP autonomy system software, Bluefin officials announced Friday. MOOS-IvP is a set of third-party open-source C++ software modules that provide autonomy for robotic vehicles. Researchers demonstrated the machine autonomy software on a Bluefin-9 UUV in Boston Harbor.Bluefin experts made the demonstration together with researchers from the Laboratory for Autonomous Marine Sensing Systems (LAMSS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. The project took a few days of testing on a virtual machine, one day to integrate the software into the UUV, two days in Boston Harbor, Bluefin officials say.The at-sea demonstration enabled the Bluefin-9 small UUV to transmit wavelet-compressed sidescan sonar images via an acoustic modem and display them on a command and control console aboard an accompanying surface vessel. The Bluefin-9 is small enough to be operated by two people.

Bluefin researchers previously integrated the MOOS-IvP autonomy system onto two larger Bluefin-21 UUVs for underwater acoustic research. In this previous demonstration, experts used a separate computer for the payload and the MOOS-IvP software.

Later during the Bluefin-9 demonstration, researchers integrated the MOOS-IvP software into the existing UUV computer. Engineers interfaced he MOOS-IvP software with the UUV's Huxley software operating system to share core vehicle data, with the MOOS-IvP operating as a backseat driver, Bluefin officials say.

The MOOS-IvP software enables UUV users to develop new behaviors and smart payloads by instructing the vehicle to change its behavior based on payload data it collects in real-time, company officials say. Sponsoring this research project was the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., with supplemental support from Bluefin Robotics.

For more information contact Bluefin Robotics online at www.bluefinrobotics.com.

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