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AUV SLAM and experiments using a mechanical scanning forward-looking sonar

He, Bo and Liang, Yan and Feng, Xiao and Nian, Rui and Yan, Tianhong and Li, Minghui and Zhang, Shujing (2012) AUV SLAM and experiments using a mechanical scanning forward-looking sonar. Sensors, 12 (7). pp. 9386-9410. ISSN 1424-8220

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Navigation technology is one of the most important challenges in the applications of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) which navigate in the complex undersea environment. The ability of localizing a robot and accurately mapping its surroundings simultaneously, namely the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) problem, is a key prerequisite of truly autonomous robots. In this paper, a modified-FastSLAM algorithm is proposed and used in the navigation for our C-Ranger research platform, an open-frame AUV. A mechanical scanning imaging sonar is chosen as the active sensor for the AUV. The modified-FastSLAM implements the update relying on the on-board sensors of C-Ranger. On the other hand, the algorithm employs the data association which combines the single particle maximum likelihood method with modified negative evidence method, and uses the rank-based resampling to overcome the particle depletion problem. In order to verify the feasibility of the proposed methods, both simulation experiments and sea trials for C-Ranger are conducted. The experimental results show the modified-FastSLAM employed for the navigation of the C-Ranger AUV is much more effective and accurate compared with the traditional methods.