UNH Ocean Seminar

Virtual Environments to Support Development of Ocean Autonomy

Dr. Brian Bingham
Associate Professor

Naval Postgraduate School

Friday, Mar. 26, 2021, 3:10pm

Simulation is a foundational capability for developing new robotic applications. While never a substitute for field experiments, simulation provides a low-cost, low-risk, accessible testing environment for new designs, algorithms and architectures. Virtual environments serve as controllable approximations of physical scenarios to enable rapid, incremental engineering of complex solutions. For much of the robotics community, the open source Gazebo robot simulator has emerged as the de facto standard for prototyping and testing robotic systems. While Gazebo offers strong support for terrestrial, aerial and space robotics applications, less support is available for ocean applications involving vehicles at and below the water surface. For the past two years the Naval Postgraduate School, in collaboration with Open Robotics, has extended the Gazebo simulation environment to enable multi-domain vehicle coordination (under, at and over the water surface) and provide the maritime robotics community with an open source, physics-based, authentic basis for rapid design and testing of robotic platforms in the complex ocean environments. In this seminar, Dr. Bingham will present the research underpinnings of this new capability as well as two recent applications: the inaugural Virtual RobotX competition and rapid testing of fully autonomous deep-sea mobile manipulation.


Brian Bingham received his B.S. degree (1996) from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO, USA, and his M.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2003) degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA, all in mechanical engineering. He is currently an Associate Professor with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, USA. His research interests include the design, dynamics, and control of robotic systems.