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  1. We propose an algorithm using method of evolving junctions to solve the optimal path planning problems with piece-wise constant flow fields. In such flow fields, we prove that the optimal trajectories, with respect to a convex Lagrangian in the objective function, must be formed by piece-wise constant velocity motions. Taking advantage of this property, we transform the infinite dimensional optimal control problem into a finite dimensional optimization and use intermittent diffusion to solve the problems. The algorithm is proven to be complete. At last, we demonstrate the performance of the algorithm with various simulation examples.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 3, 2023
  2. Abstract

    We investigate the interaction between a human and a miniature autonomous blimp using a wand as pointing device. The wand movement generated by the human is followed by the blimp through a tracking controller. The Vector Integration to Endpoint (VITE) model, previously applied to human–computer interface (HCI), has been applied to model the human generated wand movement when interacting with the blimp. We show that the closed-loop human–blimp dynamics are exponentially stable. Similar to HCI using computer mouse, overshoot motion of the blimp has been observed. The VITE model can be viewed as a special reset controller used by the human to generate wand movements that effectively reduce the overshoot of blimp motion. Moreover, we have observed undershoot motion of the blimp due to its inertia. The asymptotic stability of the human–blimp dynamics is beneficial towards tolerating the undershoot motion of the blimp.

  3. A bounded cost path planning method is developed for underwater vehicles assisted by a data-driven flow modeling method. The modeled flow field is partitioned as a set of cells of piece-wise constant flow speed. A flow partition algorithm and a parameter estimation algorithm are proposed to learn the flow field structure and parameters with justified convergence. A bounded cost path planning algorithm is developed taking advantage of the partitioned flow model. An extended potential search method is proposed to determine the sequence of partitions that the optimal path crosses. The optimal path within each partition is then determined by solving a constrained optimization problem. Theoretical justification is provided for the proposed extended potential search method generating the optimal solution. The path planned has the highest probability to satisfy the bounded cost constraint. The performance of the algorithms is demonstrated with experimental and simulation results, which show that the proposed method is more computationally efficient than some of the existing methods.
  4. Intelligent physical systems as embodied cognitive systems must perform high-level reasoning while concurrently managing an underlying control architecture. The link between cognition and control must manage the problem of converting continuous values from the real world to symbolic representations (and back). To generate effective behaviors, reasoning must include a capacity to replan, acquire and update new information, detect and respond to anomalies, and perform various operations on system goals. But, these processes are not independent and need further exploration. This paper examines an agent’s choices when multiple goal operations co-occur and interact, and it establishes a method of choosing between them. We demonstrate the benefits and discuss the trade offs involved with this and show positive results in a dynamic marine search task.
  5. Swing oscillation is widely observed among indoor miniature autonomous blimps (MABs) due to their underactuated design and unique aerodynamic shape. A detailed dynamics model is critical for investigating this undesired movement and designing controllers to stabilize the oscillation. This paper presents a motion model that describes the coupled translational and rotational movements of a typical indoor MAB with saucer- shaped envelope. The kinematics and dynamic model of the MAB are simplified from the six-degrees-of-freedom (6-DOF) Newton–Euler equations of underwater vehicles. The model is then reduced to 3-DOF given the symmetrical design of the MAB around its vertical axis. Parameters of the motion model are estimated from the system identification experiments, and validated with experimental data.
  6. Due to complex oceanic environments, underwater gliders typically must satisfy a variety of environmental conditions in order to complete high level objectives. Underwater navigation, for example, requires that a glider must periodically surface and re-localize in order to ensure adequate progress is being made. Such conditions may be directly encoded in Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) planners to ensure that glider actions are valid over the execution of a plan. However, HTN planners may not be able to find good solutions when actions have uncertain costs, such as when a glider is disturbed by a flow field. We propose a bounded cost HTN planner that leverages a modified potential search method in order to find good navigation plans that satisfy user-defined constraints. Simulation results are presented to validate the approach.
  7. In this paper, we present a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM)-based Kalman Filter for data assimilation of a 2D spatio-temporally varying depth-averaged ocean flow field for underwater glider path planning. The data source to the filter combines both the Eulerian flow map with the Lagrangian mobile sensor data stream. The depth-averaged flow is modeled as two components, the tidal and the non-tidal flow component. The tidal flow is modeled with ADCIRC (Advanced Three-Dimensional Circulation Model), while the non-tidal flow field is modeled by a set of spatial basis functions and their time series coefficients. The spatial basis functions are the principal modes derived by performing EOF (Empirical Orthogonal Functions) analysis on the historical surface flow field measured by high frequency radar (HFR), and the temporal coefficients of the spatial basis function are modeled by an LSTM neural network. The Kalman Filter is performed to combine the dynamics derived from the LSTM network, and the observations from the glider flow estimation data. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed data assimilation method can give flow field prediction of reasonable accuracy.