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Article Abstract – Shinzaki et al. (2013)


A Multi-AUV System for Cooperative Tracking and Following of Leopard Sharks

Authors and affiliations:

Shinzaki, D.1, C. Gage2, S. Tang3, M. Moline4, B. Wolfe5, C. G. Lowe5, and C. Clark6

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
2Department of Physics, Harvey Mudd College
3Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Princeton University
4University of Delaware
5Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach
6Department of Engineering, Harvey Mudd College


2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA): 4153-4158.


This paper presents a system of multiple coordinating autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) that can localize and track a shark tagged with an acoustic transmitter. Each AUV is equipped with a stereo-hydrophone system that provides measurements of the relative bearing to the transmitter, as well as an acoustic modem that allows for inter-AUV communication and hence cooperative shark state estimation and decentralized tracking control. Online state estimation of the shark’s state is performed using a Particle Filter in which measurements are shared between AUVs. The decentralized control system enables the AUVs to circumnavigate a dynamic target, (i.e. the estimated shark location). Each AUV circles the target by tracking circles of different radii and at different phase angles with respect to the target so as to obtain simultaneous sensor vantage points and minimize chance of AUV collision. A series of experiments using two AUVs were conducted in Big Fisherman’s Cove in Santa Catalina Island, CA and demonstrated the ability to track a tagged leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata). The performance of the tracking was compared to standard manual tracking performed using an directional hydrophone operated by a researcher in a boat. In an additional experiment, the AUVs tracked an acoustic tag attached to the tracking boat to quantify the error of the state estimation of the system.

Full text:

PDF (from Clark lab)

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