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FRC Seminar: Franz Hover
PLUME-CHASERS: Designing Fast Robot Teams Underwater

Franz Hover
Finmeccanica Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

October 22, 2013, 11AM to Noon, GHC 2109

Pursuit is a general class of perception and control problems defined
by critical space and time scales: a follower that cannot maintain
adequate real-time performance will simply be unable to keep up.
Autonomous pursuit missions in the ocean include tracking of a marine
vehicle or animal, and monitoring a large-scale ocean process like an
oil plume or chemical front. The opportunity for multi-vehicle sensing
systems to contribute is clear, but wireless communication has been a
perennial bottleneck that prevents truly dynamic operation.
Network-based control, a major research area over the last ten years,
offers some solutions since packet loss, quantization, and delay are
all relevant to gateway arrangements and acoustic modems in use today.

I will discuss some of the framework and leading approaches for
disciplined design of marine vehicle teams operating under severe
communication constraints. Our work includes the multi-armed bandit
for stochastic adaptive positioning, target pursuit with joint
estimation and coordinated control through acoustic modems, and an
extension of target pursuit to follow ocean features. This integrated
“plume-chaser” mission is made possible by projecting a predictive
field model onto vehicle coordinates, and applying strong synthesis
tools within a linear time-invariant framework.

Speaker Biography

Professor Franz S. Hover is the Finmeccanica Career Development Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Hover earned the B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Ohio Northern University, and the S.M. and Sc.D. degrees from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering. Professor Hover teaches and conducts research in design of ocean systems, dynamics and robotics. Professor Hover was a consultant to industry and a Principal
Research Engineer at MIT before joining the MechE faculty in 2007.