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Path planning for autonomous underwater vehicles in realistic oceanic current fields: Application to gliders in the Western Mediterranean sea

AuthorsGarau, Bartolomé ; Bonet, Matias ; Álvarez-Díaz, Alberto ; Ruiz, Simón ; Pascual, Ananda
Issue Date2009
PublisherSociedad Española de Estudios Científicos Marinos
CitationJournal of Maritime Research 6: 5- 21 (2009)
AbstractAutonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) usually operate in ocean environments characterized by complex spatial variability which can jeopardize their missions. To avoid this, planning safety routes with minimum energy cost is of primary importance. This work revisits the benefits, in terms of travelling time, of path planning in marine environments showing spatial variability. By means of a path planner presented in a previous paper, this work focuses on the application to a real environment of such techniques. Extensive computations have been carried out to calculate optimal paths on realistic ocean environments, based on autonomous underwater glider properties as the mobile platform. Unlike previous works, the more realistic and applied case of an autonomous underwater glider surveying the Western Mediterranean Sea is considered. Results indicate that substantial energy savings of planned paths compared to straight line trajectories are obtained when the current intensity and the vehicle speed are comparable. Conversely, the straight line path betwe en starting and ending points can be considered an optimum path when the current speed does not exceed half of the vehicle velocity. In both situations, benefits of path planning seem dependent also on the spatial structure of the current field. Copyright © 2009. SEECMAR.
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