Exploring the vastness of the planet’s oceans is definitely no easy task, but the experts over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are always trying to find easier and more efficient ways of getting the job done. In order to be able to map the ocean floor or keep tabs on ocean habitants, scientists use autonomous underwater vehicles, some of which will soon be able to plan their own missions without requiring any external input.
This goal is based on a system called Enterprise, which can be used to assign general objectives to AUVs, such as exploring certain locations within a given time frame. Once the objective is in place, the vehicles calculate a route and make a plan in order to fulfill the mission as quickly and as efficiently as possible. So what happens when the AUV cannot fulfill its goal? Well, a series of backup programs come into place, which help draw up new plans and even repair hardware failures.
Back in March, the Enterprise system was tested using an underwater glider that was sent off the coast of Australia. The test was definitely a success, as the glider managed to avoid unexpected collisions and accomplished its objective without issues. Aptly named after the famous Star Trek starship, Enterprise is based on three individual components, namely a captain, a navigator and an engineer. The system will be presented during the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling event, which is set to take place in Israel in June.
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