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Acoustical tracking, communication, and command and control of autonomous underwater gliders


Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV-2

Project Summary

The NPS Physics Dept manages a fleet of 10 autonomous underwater gliders (Exocetus Littoral Gliders) capable of carrying various sensor payloads and on-board computing.  These gliders have been successfully deployed numerous times in the Monterey Bay area, and have recorded environmental features of the water column as well as hundreds of boat sounds and whale calls.  In the next phase of this project, acoustic modems will be integrated into these platforms and into a Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV2.  The goals of this underwater acoustic communication integration is to allow for remote command and control of the Littoral Gliders while on mission, data exfiltration from the Littoral Gliders through the Wave Glider (acting as a gateway node), improved tracking of the submerged Littoral Gliders using acoustic ranging, and investigations of the underwater network capabilities between various platforms.  Portions of this work are being done in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Project Sponsor

The project is funded by the Office of Naval Research, Code 321MS (Dr. Mike Traweek) and the ONR-sponsored CRUSER program at NPS.



(Please list each person's roles, skill sets, and responsibilities.)

 Prof. Kevin B. Smith (NPS) Lead PI, NPS faculty and thesis advisor  Project leader
 Prof. Doug Horner (NPS) NPS Co-PI and thesis advisor  
 Dr. Skip Carter (Taygeta Scientific, Inc) Lead systems engineer  
 Shana Kropp (Taygeta Scientific, Inc) Systems engineer  
 LT Mike Upshaw, USN NPS student (graduated Dec, 2013)  
 LT Tim Kubisak, USN NPS student (graduates Jun, 2014)  
 ENS Jacqueline Penichet, USN NPS student (graduates Jun, 2014)  
 LT Renato Peres Vio, Brazilian Navy NPS PhD student (graduates Jun, 2016)  
 Prof. Dave Trivett (GA Tech) Lead GA Tech PI  

 Prof. Karim Sabra (GA Tech)

 GA Tech Co-PI  
 James Martin (GA Tech) GA Tech Lead acoustics engineer  
 Brendan Nichols (GA Tech) GA Tech, PhD student  

See the Personnel page for affiliation and contact information.

  • Underwater Acoustic Networking.  Integrate acoustic modems onto Wave Gliders and Littoral Gliders for remote networking capabilities.
  • Acoustical Tracking and Improved Navigation.  Utilize acoustic networking and ranging to improve underwater navigation of submerged Littoral Gliders.

(The project description can come from the proposal.  This is a good section for multiple paragraphs, images, and lots of detail.)




Thesis Opportunities

(Please list thesis/dissertation topics for current students as well as candidate future possibilities.)

  • Thesis topic 1.  Summary description.
  • Thesis topic 2.  Summary description.
  • Thesis topic 3.  Summary description.

(Deliverables can be copied from the proposal.)

  • Deliverable 1.  Summary description.
  • Deliverable 2.  Summary description.
  • Deliverable 3.  Summary description.
Milestone Tasks and Event Timeline

(Project milestones can be copied from the proposal.)

  • Milestone Task 1 name.  Description.
  • Milestone Task 2 name.  Description.

(Timeline events need to be coordinated via the Calendar.)

  • Event 1 name.  Description.
  • Event 2 name.  Description.

(Names, links and descriptions for other relevant resources that aid in the conduct of this work.)



(List of publications and related work supporting this project.)


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