Underwater vehicle avoids objects in its path

Article Summary:

Engineers from Stanford and the Monterey Bay Aquarium have joined forces to design an underwater vehicle that can steer and control its depth autonomously. The torpedo shaped vehicle uses a terrain-relative navigation (TRN) system that allows it to know its location by matching its altitude (above the ocean floor) to an existing terrain map. In addition, the autonomous craft applies algorithms to steer itself around obstructions. Applications for the new technology would include following moving objects in the open ocean while collecting pictures, video and data. The new vehicles are expected to be mission-ready next year.