The use of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) has been proposed for several different types of applications including hydrographic surveys (e.g., mapping the ocean floor and exploring sunken wreckage), mine detection and identification, law enforcement (e.g., enforcing certain fishing regulations), environmental and pollution monitoring, and even performing surveys to find potential drilling locations on the ocean floor for the oil industry. Recently the idea of using multiple, cooperating UUVs to execute these missions has also been proposed. There are two main factors that dictate a particular mission's success. The first factor regards creating a mission that is free from errors, in terms of both syntax and semantics. The second factor deals with properly splitting a mission into a set of sub-missions and assigning each sub-mission to a group of UUVs. Even though tools have been developed to help reduce these potential problems such as high level mission programming languages, compilers for these languages and utilities to automatically split an operator specified mission, the potential still exists for errors when creating a mission (e.g. semantic errors introduced from programming and maintaining the code for existing missions). The goal of this article is to present a programming-free, parallel mission generation utility that uses a series of tools we developed along with a commercially available graphical package. Our utility allows an operator to graphically specify a mission for a group of UUVs and automatically split the mission among the group based on an objective provided by the operator. The main contribution of this tool is twofold. First, it relieves the operator from low-level mission programming including the manual partitioning of the mission across a group of available UUVs. Second, it allows the operator to review the resulting set of generated sub-missions using the graphical interface. Thus, no matter what the particular UUV application is, this tool is another step towards successfully creating missions for UUVs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Artificial Intelligence