This software implements a motion-planning module for a maritime autonomous surface vehicle (ASV). The module trails a given target while also avoiding static and dynamic surface hazards. When surface hazards are other moving boats, the motion planner must apply International Regulations for Avoiding Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). A key subset of these rules has been implemented in the software. In case contact with the target is lost, the software can receive and follow a “reacquisition route,” provided by a complementary system, until the target is reacquired. The programmatic intention is that the trailed target is a submarine, although any mobile naval platform could serve as the target.

The algorithmic approach to combining motion with a (possibly moving) goal location, while avoiding local hazards, may be applicable to robotic rovers, automated landing systems, and autonomous airships. The software operates in JPL’s CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing) software architecture and relies on other modules for environmental perception data and information on the predicted detectability of the target, as well as the low-level interface to the boat controls.

This work was done by Michael Wolf, Yoshiaki Kuwata, and Dimitri V. Zarzhitsky of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Innovative Technology Assets Management
Mail Stop 321-123
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
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This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Target Trailing With Safe Navigation for Maritime Autonomous Surface Vehicles

(reference NPO-48115) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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