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Publications

Publications by Bruno Miguel Ferreira

2015

A Centralized Approach to the Coordination of Marine Robots

Authors
Ferreira, BM; Matos, AC; Cruz, NA; Moreira, AP;

Publication
CONTROLO'2014 - PROCEEDINGS OF THE 11TH PORTUGUESE CONFERENCE ON AUTOMATIC CONTROL

Abstract
This paper presents a centralized coordination scheme for multiple marine vehicles. The only requirements for proper operation of this method are the presence of bidirectional communication links with a virtual leader and bounded reference tracking errors. By relying on a, lower level, individual position tracking control, coordination is achieved by means of a centralized potential-field that uniquely defines the desired formation geometry as well as its position. The formation can be driven along a path that does not necessarily need to be predefined. Instead, a virtual leader defines the formation position at each instant of time. Furthermore, the possibility of setting stationary points over the path followed by the formation is guaranteed. The approach is illustrated in practice with autonomous surface vehicles in real environment, subjected to disturbances such as wind and waves.

2016

Coordination of Marine Robots Under Tracking Errors and Communication Constraints

Authors
Ferreira, BM; Matos, AC; Cruz, NA; Moreira, AP;

Publication
IEEE JOURNAL OF OCEANIC ENGINEERING

Abstract
This paper presents the development and the experimental validation of a centralized coordination control scheme that is robust to communication constraints and individual tracking errors for a team of possibly heterogeneous marine vehicles. By assuming the existence of a lower level target tracking control layer, a centralized potential-field-based coordination scheme is proposed to drive a team of robots along a path that does not necessarily need to be defined a priori. Furthermore, the formation is allowed to hold its position (the vehicles hold their positions with regard to a static virtual leader), which is particularly appreciated in several marine applications. As it is important to guarantee stability and mission completion in adverse environments with limited communications, the centralized control scheme for coordination is constructed in a way that makes it robust to tracking errors and intermittent communication links. The study and developments presented in this paper are complemented with field experiments in which vehicles have coordinated their operation to keep in formation over a dynamic path and static points. This work considers two types of communication technologies. Firstly, standard high rate radio communications are used to drive the formation and, secondly, acoustic communications are employed to assess the performance and the robustness of the proposed approach to degraded and highly variable conditions. Index Terms-Communication

2016

Design and development of SHAD - A Small Hovering AUV with Differential actuation

Authors
Goncalves, CS; Ferreira, BM; Matos, AC;

Publication
OCEANS 2016 MTS/IEEE Monterey, OCE 2016

Abstract
This paper presents the design and development of a new Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). SHAD, which stands for Small Hovering AUV with Differential actuation, is a torpedo shaped vehicle that was conceptually designed to navigate in challenging volumes. It brings to the scene of submarine robotics a different model and new design of AUV. The small size, the light weight and the high maneuverability of this AUV were among the most important features that can make the SHAD an option to applications where other models have difficulties. This paper details the design and the development of SHAD and presents experimental results from sensors and actuators testing as well as vehicle navigation. © 2016 IEEE.

2015

Homing a robot with range-only measurements under unknown drifts

Authors
Ferreira, BM; Matos, AC; Cruz, NA; Paulo Moreira, AP;

Publication
ROBOTICS AND AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS

Abstract
The problem of homing a mobile robot to a given reference location under unknown relative and absolute positions is addressed in this paper. This problem is easy to solve when all the positions and kinematic variables are known or are observable, but remains a challenge when only range is measured. Its complexity further increases when variable and unknown drifts are added to the motion, which is typical for marine vehicles. Based on the range measurements, it is possible to drive the robot arbitrarily close to the reference. This paper presents a complete solution and demonstrates the validity of the approach based on the Lyapunov theory. The use of models, which are often affected by uncertainties and/or unmodeled terms, is intended to be minimal and only some constraints are imposed on the speed of the robot. We derive a control law that makes the robot converge asymptotically to the reference and prove its stability theoretically. Nevertheless, as it is well known, practical limitations on the actuation can weaken some properties of convergence, namely when the system dynamics require increasing actuation along the approach trajectory. We will demonstrate that the robot reaches a positively invariant set around the reference whose upper bound is determined. Finally, we conclude our work by presenting simulation and experimental data and by demonstrating the validity and the robustness of the method.

2016

Multiple robot operations for maritime search and rescue in euRathlon 2015 competition

Authors
Matos, A; Martins, A; Dias, A; Ferreira, B; Almeida, JM; Ferreira, H; Amaral, G; Figueiredo, A; Almeida, R; Silva, F;

Publication
OCEANS 2016 - SHANGHAI

Abstract
This paper presents results of the INESC TEC participation in the maritime environment (both at surface and underwater) integrated in the ICARUS team in the euRathlon 2015 robotics search and rescue competition. These relate to the marine robots from INESC TEC, surface (ROAZ USV) and underwater (MARES AUV) autonomous vehicles participation in multiple tasks such as situation assessment, underwater mapping, leak detection or victim localization. This participation was integrated in the ICARUS Team resulting of the EU funded project aimed to develop robotic tools for large scale disasters. The coordinated search and rescue missions were performed with an initial surface survey providing data for AUV mission planning and execution. A situation assessment bathymetry map, sidescan sonar imaging and location of structures, underwater leaks and victims were achieved, with the global ICARUS team (involving sea, air and land coordinated robots) participating in the final grand Challenge and achieving the second place.

2017

A lightweight docking station for a hovering AUV

Authors
Cruz, NA; Matos, AC; Almeida, RM; Ferreira, BM;

Publication
2017 IEEE OES International Symposium on Underwater Technology, UT 2017

Abstract
The concept of underwater docking stations has long been proposed to support the long term deployment of AUVs, but the number of successful solutions is still very disappointing. Hovering type AUVs can navigate arbitrarily slow, simplifying the docking maneuver and the requirements for the receiving structure. This paper describes a docking system that was developed to extend the mission duration of the MARES AUV, a man portable hovering type AUV. Given the wide range of operational scenarios and configurations of this AUV, one of the design requirements was to have a simple modular structure, that could easily be reconfigured to support different vehicle configurations, deployment scenarios and docking maneuvers. The paper provides details of the mechanical aspects, the onboard electronic subsystems, and the general operational procedure, as well as preliminary data from the first trials. © 2017 IEEE.

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