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Taking the idea of beacon-based cooperative positioning to the next level, we developed a cooperative bathymetry-based localization approach for a team of low-cost AUVs [bibcite key=TAN:icra2014,BathyAuRo_2014], each equipped only with a single-beam altimeter, a depth sensor and an acoustic modem. The localization of the individual AUV is achieved via fully decentralized particle filtering, with the local filter’s measurement model driven by the AUV’s altimeter measurements and ranging information obtained through inter-vehicle communication. We showed that it is feasible for a team of low-cost AUVs to perform cooperative localization, without relying on a beacon vehicle. The decentralized formulation is scalable to as many vehicles as can operate within the communication range, without increasing the computational complexity.
As a proof of concept, we performed offline cooperative localization with field data collected using a team autonomous marine vehicles that consisted of a STARFISH AUV and a SCOUT ASV. The AUV was equipped with a Tritec Micron single-beam altimeter, providing 1 mm digital resolution, to measure the bathymetry information along its pre-planned path. The ASV was equipped with a BlueView P900-45 multi-beam sonar with a range resolution of 2.54 cm and a total of 256 beams. For the purpose of this experiment, only the range measurement of a single beam (128th beam) was used as the input to the localization filter.