Energy-optimal kinodynamic planning for underwater gliders in flow fields

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, ACRA, 2017, 2017-December pp. 42 - 51
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
We consider energy-optimal navigation planning in ow fields, which is a long-standing optimisation problem with no known analytical solution. Using the motivating example of an underwater glider subject to ocean currents, we present an asymptotically optimal planning framework that considers realistic vehicle dynamics and provably returns an optimal solution in the limit. One key idea that we introduce is to reformulate the dynamic control problem as a kinematic problem with trim states, which encapsulate the dynamics over suitably long distances. We report simulation examples that, surprisingly, contravene the use of regular 'sawtooth' paths currently in widespread use. We show that, when internal control mechanics are taken into account, energy-efficient paths do not necessarily follow a regular up-and-down pattern. Our work represents a principled planning framework for underwater gliders that will enable improved navigation capability for both commercial and defence applications.
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