Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed an algorithm that lets autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) weigh the risks and potential rewards of exploring an unknown region.
For example, if an AUV tasked with identifying underwater oil seepage approached a steep, rocky trench, the algorithm could assess the reward and risk levels if it were to take a path through the trench.
The algorithm also can analyze tradeoffs of risk versus reward in real time, as an AUV decides where to explore next.
The researchers are implementing the algorithm and others on AUVs, with the goal of deploying fleets of intelligent, robotic explorers for various missions.
The algorithm takes in information about ocean topography, along with the vehicle's dynamics and inertial measurements, to compute the level of risk for a certain proposed path.
From MIT News
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