A Natural Language Interface with Relayed Acoustic Communications for Improved Command and Control of AUVs

by   David A. Robb, et al.

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are being tasked with increasingly complex missions. The acoustic communications required for AUVs are, by the nature of the medium, low bandwidth while adverse environmental conditions underwater often mean they are also intermittent. This has motivated development of highly autonomous systems, which can operate independently of their operators for considerable periods of time. These missions often involve multiple vehicles leading not only to challenges in communications but also in command and control (C2). Specifically operators face complexity in controlling multi-objective, multi-vehicle missions, whilst simultaneously facing uncertainty over the current status and safety of several remote high value assets. Additionally, it may be required to perform command and control of these complex missions in a remote control room. In this paper, we propose a combination of an intuitive, natural language operator interface combined with communications that use platforms from multiple domains to relay data over different mediums and transmission modes, improving command and control of collaborative and fully autonomous missions. In trials, we have demonstrated an integrated system combining working prototypes with established commercial C2 software that enables the use of a natural language interface to monitor an AUV survey mission in an on-shore command and control centre.


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