Improved Navigation for Long Range Autonomous Underwater Gliders

Gideon Billings, Gregory Burgess, Richard Camilli

Autonomous underwater gliders (AUGs) are long range vehicles, capable of traversing basin scale distances. However, AUGs currently lack sufficient navigation accuracy to traverse long distances without periodic surfacing to obtain GPS fixes and constrain the localization drift. We present a method and preliminary results from field trials for improved AUG navigation using a Doppler Velocity Log to dynamically profile water column currents. This improved navigation reduces the AUG localization drift and the need for periodic surfacing, which could enable long range missions beneath arctic ice sheets.