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Applying UGV technology to USVs SPIE Defense and Security Symposium Conference on Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VII March 31, 2005 Michael Bruch SPAWAR Systems Center, San Diego Unmanned Systems Branch, Code 2371. Discussions. Project Purpose USV platform

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Applying UGV technology to USVsSPIE Defense and Security SymposiumConference on Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VIIMarch 31, 2005Michael BruchSPAWAR Systems Center, San DiegoUnmanned Systems Branch, Code 2371

  • Project Purpose
  • USV platform
  • Technologies Transitioned – H/W and S/W
  • Command and Control
  • Autonomy and Sensors
  • Conclusions and Future Work
  • Transition and develop technologies to advance the state of the art in USVs
    • Navigation
    • Autonomy
    • Not a platform development program
  • Working to transition technologies from UGVs
    • Millions of dollars spent on research for UGVs
    • USV problem analogous to the UGV problem in many ways
      • Mostly planar navigation
      • Driving a boat is not that much different than driving a car
r d platform
R&D Platform
  • Platform choice based on cost, size, supportability, easy of integration and safety
  • SeaDoo Challenger 2000 jet boat - Length 20’, Beam 8’, 2,000 lbs
  • Payload capacity 1,400 lbs
  • 250hp Mercury jet drive
  • Max Speed 45kts
platform hm e modifications
PlatformHM&E modifications
  • Sensor and equipment tower
    • Large-diameter, thin-wall stainless steel
    • Supports radar, electronics box, stabilized sensor/camera platform and cameras
    • Antennas
  • Modular Electronic Bay
    • Three watertight enclosures
      • Power management
      • Communications
      • Navigation
  • Cooler Bay
    • 120VAC inverter
    • Radar processor
  • Auxiliary power
    • 145 amp 24VDC generator
    • 24V battery bank
    • 24/12VDC converter
  • Actuators
    • Three Ultra-motion Smart linear actuators for steering, throttle and bucket
    • Actuator compartment splits the organic flexible control cables
    • Three distinct operating modes: 1) Manual – fully mechanical linkage, 2) Drive-by-wire – Helm controls connected to sensors to control actuators, 3) Computer – tele-operation or waypoint navigation
platform hm e modification actuator compartment
PlatformHM&E modificationActuator Compartment











Ethernet to


Control Pins (2 per actuator)

(Manual mode shown)

platform hm e modification modular electronics bay under rear seat
PlatformHM&E modificationModular Electronics bay under rear seat

Electronic Boxes


Fiberglass Mods

Installed Boxes

Completed Installation

platform hm e modification sensor tower
PlatformHM&E modificationSensor Tower

Motion Picture Marine Perfect Horizon

transitioned technologies hardware
Transitioned TechnologiesHardware
  • Processors, video CODEC, GPS, compass/gyro
    • Same components used for the MPRS URBOT
    • Short integration time
    • Processors
      • Brightstar ipEngine (PowerPC)
      • National Semiconductor Geode
    • Video CODEC
      • IndigoVision VP604 miniature H.263 video encoder/decoder
    • Novatel OEM-4 GPS (L1 only)
    • Microstrain 3DM-G gyro-stabilized compass
transitioned technologies architecture
Transitioned TechnologiesArchitecture
  • Observer
  • ipEngine
  • Camera and sensor interface
  • Driver
  • ipEngine SBC
  • Low-level interface
  • Tele-operation
  • Navigator
  • Geode SBC
  • Waypoint Navigation


  • Controller
  • PC base
  • Operator Interface
  • Communication Link
  • WLAN
  • SMART software architecture
  • Domains (Navigator, etc) treated as independent domains or “agents”
  • Dynamic registration
  • Moving to JAUS in summer of 2005
transitioned technologies software
Transitioned TechnologiesSoftware
  • Tele-operation
    • Simply modified the actuator interface module
    • Functional within days of having hardware installation complete
  • Waypoint navigation
    • Kalman Filter
      • Same KF as used on URBOT
        • Removed odometry input (haven’t interface to the paddle wheel)
        • Tuned covariance matrix
        • Works well when boat has some forward velocity
        • No separate state for course and bearing (issue only when boat is stopped and drifting, using a dynamic covariance matrix)
transitioned technologies software12
Transitioned TechnologiesSoftware
  • Path-following
    • Same pure-pursuit algorithm as using on the URBOT
      • Tuned PID gains and look-ahead distance
        • Boat is much less responsive than a skid-steer vehicle
        • Significantly different responses at different speeds
          • Table for PID gains and look-ahead distance based on speed
      • Added a feedback control loop for velocity
        • Speeds near the planning speeds can be difficult to achieve
    • Were following routes at moderate speeds on the first day of testing
    • Very slow speeds are still a challenge
      • Wind and current have a much greater effect
      • Not much steering authority at idle speeds with a jet drive
transitioned technologies command and control14

Toolbar Release

Return to Monitor Mode

USV Status Summary

Overview chart

Transitioned TechnologiesCommand and Control
autonomy and sensors
Autonomy and Sensors
  • Autonomous obstacle avoidance and route planning
    • Radar
      • Primary sensor for marine navigation
      • Xenex Digital radar
        • Provides raw radar data and ARPA contact/track data over and IP interface
      • Issues with radar
        • Slow update rate
        • Minimum range of ~100m
autonomy and sensors17
Autonomy and Sensors
  • Investigating possibility of augmenting radar
    • Vision
      • Working with JPL to experiment with wide-baseline stereo
    • LADAR
      • Initial experiments with SICK look promising
    • Digital Charts
      • Fuse with radar
      • Use for route planning
reactive obstacle avoidance
Reactive obstacle avoidance
  • Implementing the same reactive OA architecture as being used on the UGV platforms
    • Code re-use
    • Greatly expanded obstacle map
    • Developing behaviors to use “rules of the road”
  • Successfully transferred both hardware and software technology from the UGV to the USV
    • Significant savings in integration and development costs
    • Able to quickly demonstrate basic tele-operation and waypoint navigation
  • Future work
    • Obstacle avoidance
    • Improved route following
      • Adapt controller for environmental conditions