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Front delineation and tracking with multiple underwater vehicles

Branch, Andrew and Flexas, Mar M. and Claus, Brian and Thompson, Andrew F. and Zhang, Yanwu and Clark, Evan B. and Chien, Steve and Fratantoni, David M. and Kinsey, James C. and Hobson, Brett and Kieft, Brian and Chavez, Francisco P. (2019) Front delineation and tracking with multiple underwater vehicles. Journal of Field Robotics, 36 (3). pp. 568-586. ISSN 1556-4959. doi:10.1002/rob.21853.

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This study describes a method for detecting and tracking ocean fronts using multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Multiple vehicles, equally spaced along the expected frontal boundary, complete near parallel transects orthogonal to the front. Two different techniques are used to determine the location of the front crossing from each individual vehicle transect. The first technique uses lateral gradients to detect when a change in the observed water property occurs. The second technique uses a measure of the vertical temperature structure over a single dive to detect when the vehicle is in upwelling water. Adaptive control of the vehicles ensure they remain perpendicular to the estimated front boundary as it evolves over time. This method was demonstrated in several experiment periods totaling weeks, in and around Monterey Bay, CA, in May and June of 2017. We compare the two front detection methods, a lateral gradient front detector and an upwelling front detector using the Vertical Temperature Homogeneity Index. We introduce two metrics to evaluate the adaptive control techniques presented. We show the capability of this method for repeated sampling across a dynamic ocean front using a fleet of three types of platforms: short‐range Iver AUVs, Tethys‐class long‐range AUVs, and Seagliders. This method extends to tracking gradients of different properties using a variety of vehicles.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Branch, Andrew0000-0002-9877-6944
Flexas, Mar M.0000-0002-0617-3004
Claus, Brian0000-0003-2335-6053
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Zhang, Yanwu0000-0002-8773-9275
Additional Information:© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Issue Online: 04 April 2019; Version of Record online: 12 December 2018; Manuscript accepted: 06 November 2018; Manuscript received: 29 January 2018. Funding Information: Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Keck Institute for Space Studies; W. M. Keck Foundation; Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research InstituteUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:adaptive sampling; autonomous underwater vehicles; multiasset planning; ocean front tracking
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190515-132029715
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Branch, A, Clark, EB, Chien, S, et al. Front delineation and tracking with multiple underwater vehicles. J Field Robotics. 2019; 36: 568– 586.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95515
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 May 2019 22:41
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:13

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