Development of a Low Cost Multi-Robot Autonomous Marine Surface Platform
In this paper, we outline a low cost multi-robot autonomous platform for a broad set of applications including water quality monitoring, ﬂood disaster mitigation and depth buoy verification. By working cooperatively, ﬂeets of vessels can cover large areas that would otherwise be impractical, time consuming and prohibitively expensive to traverse by a single vessel. We describe the hardware design, control infrastructure, and software architecture of the system, while additionally presenting experimental results from several ﬁeld trials. Further, we discuss our initial efforts towards developing our system for water quality monitoring, in which a team of watercraft equipped with specialized sensors autonomously samples the physical quantity being measured and provides online situational awareness to the operator regarding water quality in the observed area. From canals in New York to volcanic lakes in the Philippines, our vessels have been tested in diverse marine environments and the results obtained from initial experiments in these domains are also discussed.