Underwater Navigation of AUVs
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Designing and developing an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that is capable of performing a diverse set of operations is challenging in many ways, and requires broad insight into many fields of research. This paper presents the general aspects of underwater vehicles and subsea missions. It aims to serve as a portal to the multitude of issues that must be considered when designing an inspection-class AUV. Typical sensor configurations that enable autonomous navigation are presented, along with algorithms for sensor integration. Special emphasis is put on near-bottom operations and navigation methods that are facilitated by bottom relative measurements. The main challenge regarding AUV navigation is maintaining an accurate horizontal position estimate during long lasting missions. Methods for obtaining bounded error position estimates without deploying cumbersome external equipment are discussed to detail. Reliable navigational information is particularly important for safe operation and recovery of autonomous vehicles, and the data gathered during AUV missions are more valuable if the location where the data was recorded is accurately known. The essentials of autonomous guidance, navigation and control are presented along with specific applicable techniques, to provide a general overview of the system as a whole.