High Endurance and Sustainable Marine Mechatronic Systems Design

 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

a) AUV- II using xPC-Target

The hardware-in-the-loop simulation environment was developed to support and validate the hardware and software development of an underwater robotic vehicle (URV). The xPC Target is closely integrated in the MATLAB/Simulink environment and allows Simulink models to compile into executable code and run on a proprietary real-time operating system. It is a solution for rapid prototyping, hardware-in-the-loop testing of control systems, and deploying real-time systems using standard PC hardware such as Athena II.  Using standard PC hardware and off-the-shelf l/O boards, xPC Target turns a standard PC into a real-time rapid prototyping Target. "Real-time" means that code is executed at very regular intervals for control.

Hardware-in-the-loop testing....

 AUV views...

During the HIL testing, xPC TargetTM and its Embedded OptionTM toolbox from MatlabTM were used for control and measurements. Besides utilizing this scalable and flexible platform for HIL testing in rapid prototyping, some issues can be identified and resolved. Contributions to these challenges will be of interest to the underwater technology research, the robotic control and rapid prototyping of systems communities.

  • Obstacle avoidance under strong disturbances (e.g. underwater current, salinity, faulty sensors, faulty actuators, model uncertainties).
  • Using Human Machine Interface (HMI) equipment to enhance in control and visualization interface between a human and machine. The HMI allows user to control, monitor, diagnose and manage the application.
  • Control and stability of the hybrid systems.
  • Vehicle’s position feedback using visual-servoing through the video camera.
  • Sensors fusion and signal processing.
  • Systems identification using on-board sensors.
  • Instead of using a specialized robotic vehicle, it is advantageous to use a few relatively inexpensive and simple vehicles to cooperatively increase the functionality and provide redundancy when solving complex tasks.
  • The stability and performance of the systems under ineffective or faulty actuators and sensors remain a challenging research area. For example, if failures occur during missions, the control systems must still work. To achieve that, it is necessary to embed fault-tolerant control (FTC) paradigms into the operating system to increase the reliability of the vehicles.

Hydrodynamic Drag Force Testing

The objective of the project is to design a device to determine the hydrodynamic drag force of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) . The device uses a microcontroller to control the speed of the AUV.

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