Fall 2013 GRASP Seminar: Franz Hover, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, "PLUME-CHASERS: Designing Fast Robot Teams Underwater"

Presenter: Franz Hover (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday October 25, 2013 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Pursuit is a general class of perception and control problems defined by critical space and time scales:  a follower that cannot maintain adequate real-time performance will simply be unable to keep up.  Autonomous pursuit missions in the ocean include tracking of a marine vehicle or animal, and monitoring a large-scale ocean process like an oil plume or chemical front.  The opportunity for multi-vehicle sensing systems to contribute is clear, but wireless communication has been a perennial bottleneck that prevents truly dynamic operation.  Network-based control, a major research area over the last ten years, offers some solutions since packet loss, quantization, and delay are all relevant to gateway arrangements and acoustic modems in use today.

I will discuss some of the framework and leading approaches for disciplined design of marine vehicle teams operating under severe communication constraints.  Our work includes the multi-armed bandit for stochastic adaptive positioning, target pursuit with joint estimation and coordinated control through acoustic modems, and an extension of target pursuit to follow ocean features.  This integrated “plume-chaser” mission is made possible by projecting a predictive field model onto vehicle coordinates, and applying strong synthesis tools within a linear time-invariant framework.

Presenter's Biography:

Franz Hover was a consultant to industry and a Principal Research Engineer at MIT before joining the MechE faculty in 2007.  His research has led to commercial development of the HAUV platform for autonomous ship hull inspection, advances in computational tools for power systems, and innovations in subsea flow control technology.  Current work focuses on the design and implementation of multi-agent ocean systems.  Professor Hover has authored or co-authored over one hundred refereed papers.  He has also supervised more than 150 undergraduate research projects, and served as advisor to the MIT Marine Robotics Team since 2004.