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Talk-09: Developing a MOOS Driver for Marine Broadband Radar

Michael Sacarny, Paul Robinette, MIT Sea Grant

Marine Broadband radar can add powerful capabilities to an autonomous vessel sensor suite, including all-weather perception of vehicles from close-in (less than 50 m) to 24 km or more, with power requirements of less than 20 W, and radio energy transmission 1/5th that of a cell phone. Exploiting these devices, however, requires a driver, the critical piece of software that allows a robotic system to monitor, control, and acquire target data from the radar. This presentation is a first-hand account of the development of a MOOS driver for Simrad Broadband 4G radar, and is intended to help other MOOS users construct similar drivers.

The account starts with criteria for selecting this radar and a brief history of previous efforts to determine the proprietary monitoring and control protocol. We describe the data streams to and from multicasting UDP endpoints that implement the protocol, as well as the Wireshark test setup used to confirm it. Next, we introduce the MOOS Appcasting application that forms the core of the driver and the class hierarchy of the design. The description includes how the Boost libraries were used for asynchronous I/O and inter-process communication. The presentation concludes with some thoughts about potential future developments in this subject area.



  • USVs
  • Sensor Processing
  • Radar