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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 483095, 15 pages
Research Article

Task Allocation and Path Planning for Collaborative Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Operating through an Underwater Acoustic Network

Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA

Received 19 June 2012; Revised 11 December 2012; Accepted 21 December 2012

Academic Editor: Duško Katić

Copyright © 2013 Yueyue Deng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dynamic and unstructured multiple cooperative autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) missions are highly complex operations, and task allocation and path planning are made significantly more challenging under realistic underwater acoustic communication constraints. This paper presents a solution for the task allocation and path planning for multiple AUVs under marginal acoustic communication conditions: a location-aided task allocation framework (LAAF) algorithm for multitarget task assignment and the grid-based multiobjective optimal programming (GMOOP) mathematical model for finding an optimal vehicle command decision given a set of objectives and constraints. Both the LAAF and GMOOP algorithms are well suited in poor acoustic network condition and dynamic environment. Our research is based on an existing mobile ad hoc network underwater acoustic simulator and blind flooding routing protocol. Simulation results demonstrate that the location-aided auction strategy performs significantly better than the well-accepted auction algorithm developed by Bertsekas in terms of task-allocation time and network bandwidth consumption. We also demonstrate that the GMOOP path-planning technique provides an efficient method for executing multiobjective tasks by cooperative agents with limited communication capabilities. This is in contrast to existing multiobjective action selection methods that are limited to networks where constant, reliable communication is assumed to be available.