Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Alexander M. Wyglinski, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

James D. Van de Ven, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Islam I. Hussein, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

William R. Michalson, Committee Member




Localization is a classic and complex problem in the field of mobile robotics. It becomes particularly challenging in an aqueous environment because currents within the water can move the robot. A novel localization module and corresponding localization algorithm for experimental autonomous underwater vehicles is presented. Unlike other available positioning systems which require fixed hardware beacons, this custom built module relies only on information available from sensors on-board the vehicle and knowledge of its bounded domain. This allows the user to save valuable time which would otherwise be devoted to the setup and calibration of a beacon or sensor network. The module uses three orthogonal ultrasonic transducers to measure distances to the tank boundaries. Using the measured tri-axial orientation of the vehicle, the algorithm analytically determines the robot's position within the domain in absolute coordinates. Certain vehicle states do not allow the position to be completely resolved by the algorithm alone. In this case, state estimation is used to estimate the robot position until its state is no longer indeterminate. The modular design of this system makes it ideal for application on underwater vehicles which operate in a bounded environment for research purposes. An experimental version of the module was constructed and tested in the WPI swimming pool and showed successful localization under normal conditions.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Sonar position measurement, sonar signal processing, sonar applications