Coordinated Navigation and Localization of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Using an Autonomous Surface Vehicle in the OpenUAV Simulation Framework
The need for incorporating game engines into robotics tools becomes increasingly crucial as their graphics continue to become more photorealistic. This thesis presents a simulation framework, referred to as OpenUAV, that addresses cloud simulation and photorealism challenges in academic and research goals. In this work, OpenUAV is used to create a simulation of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) closely following a moving autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) in an underwater coral reef environment. It incorporates the Unity3D game engine and the robotics software Gazebo to take advantage of Unity3D's perception and Gazebo's physics simulation. The software is developed as a containerized solution that is deployable on cloud and on-premise systems.
This method of utilizing Gazebo's physics and Unity3D perception is evaluated for a team of marine vehicles (an AUV and an ASV) in a coral reef environment. A coordinated navigation and localization module is presented that allows the AUV to follow the path of the ASV. A fiducial marker underneath the ASV facilitates pose estimation of the AUV, and the pose estimates are filtered using the known dynamical system model of both vehicles for better localization. This thesis also investigates different fiducial markers and their detection rates in this Unity3D underwater environment. The limitations and capabilities of this Unity3D perception and Gazebo physics approach are examined.