Autonomous Mission Planning and Simulation Software Design for Unmanned Surface Vehicles
Ocean industries and researchers need the on-site oceanographic and environmental data, but collecting that data is costly, challenging, and time-consuming. Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) offer a promising solution for marine data collection. Equipped with oceanographic sensors, cameras and communication devices, the USV Data Xplorer developed by Open Ocean Robotics can voyage for extended periods thanks to the additionally generated solar energy from the USV’s solar panels. Mission range and the travel path for fulfilling the specified task will be dependent on the geographical location of the task area, energy management of the USV, and environmental conditions. Therefore, research on autonomous mission planning based on various practical factors is desirable and will play an instrumental role in the USV product development. An offline mission planner will be designed to predict and schedule a feasible task considering the following factors: the energy generated by the solar panels, power consumption of the USV, and impact of mission-specific environmental conditions including prevailing wind speeds, average currents, sunlight level, etc. A simulation software will be developed by integrating the above-mentioned algorithms and modules.