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Towards the Improvement of Autonomous Glider Navigational Accuracy Through the Use of Regional Ocean Models

[+] Author Affiliations
Ryan N. Smith, Jonathan Kelly, Burton H. Jones, Gaurav S. Sukhatme

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Yi Chao

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Paper No. OMAE2010-21015, pp. 597-606; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering: Volume 4
  • Shanghai, China, June 6–11, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4912-5 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3873-0
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Autonomous underwater gliders are robust and widely-used ocean sampling platforms that are characterized by their endurance, and are one of the best approaches to gather subsurface data at the appropriate spatial resolution to advance our knowledge of the ocean environment. Gliders generally do not employ sophisticated sensors for underwater localization, but instead dead-reckon between set waypoints. Thus, these vehicles are subject to large positional errors between prescribed and actual surfacing locations. Here, we investigate the implementation of a large-scale, regional ocean model into the trajectory design for autonomous gliders to improve their navigational accuracy. We compute the dead-reckoning error for our Slocum gliders, and compare this to the average positional error recorded from multiple deployments conducted over the past year. We then compare trajectory plans computed on-board the vehicle during recent deployments to our prediction-based trajectory plans for 140 surfacing occurrences.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Oceans



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