Since Spring Term 2012, I have been developing and teaching a course on Marine Autonomy called MIT 2.680 Marine Autonomy, Sensing and Communications. In February 2017 it is being taught for the fourth time. This course covers basic topics in autonomous marine vehicles, focusing mainly on software and algorithms for autonomous decision making (autonomy) by underwater vehicles operating in the ocean environments, autonomously adapting to the environment for improved sensing performance. It introduces students to underwater acoustic communication environment, as well as the various options for undersea navigation, both crucial to the operation of collaborative undersea networks for environmental sensing. Sensors for acoustic, biological and chemical sensing by underwater vehicles and their integration with the autonomy system for environmentally adaptive undersea mapping and observation are covered. The subject has a significant lab component, involving the use of the MOOS-IvP autonomy software infrastructure for developing integrated sensing, modeling and control solutions for a variety of ocean observation problems, using simulation environments and a field test-bed with small autonomous surface craft and underwater vehicles operated on the Charles River.

Other Education / Outreach

  • In 2014 I mentored a team of MIT students participating in the first International Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore's Marina Bay. Our team assembled a fully autonomous 16 foot autonomous surface vehicle to compete in a variety of tasks against 14 other teams from five countries. Our team took the first place prize.
  • Since in January 2015 I mentor the MIT Marine Robotics Team in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  • In 2006 I launched the MOOS-IvP Open Source project on marine autonomy software. This software is freely available and used in autonomy projects around the world. It has remained continuously active with major releases each year, and presently comprises over 130,000 lines of code, 40+ distinct but coordinated software applications, and over 35 work-years of effort.
  • Every other year I organize on the MIT campus an international workshop on marine autonomy called MOOS-DAWG (Developers and Applications Working Group). The next meeting is in July 2017.