Operations with multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have a variety of underwater applications. For example, a coordinated group of vehicles with environmental sensors can perform adaptive ocean sampling at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales. We describe a methodology for cooperative control of multiple vehicles based on virtual bodies and artificial potentials (VBAP). This methodology allows for adaptable formation control and can be used for missions such as gradient climbing and feature tracking in an uncertain environment. We discuss our implementation on a fleet of autonomous underwater gliders and present results from sea trials in Monterey Bay in August, 2003. These at-sea demonstrations were performed as part of the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN) II project.
IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering31, no. 4 (2006): 935–948.