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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Swarms of Robot Boats Multi-Agent Planning and Autonomy Software Architecture
Disciplines:  Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Mentor:  Michael Wolf, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 393-2666
Background:  JPL leads a variety of maritime robotics projects. In this project, we are designing systems for a fleet of fast-moving surface boats, known as autonomous (or unmanned) surface vehicles (ASVs or USVs). In particular, JPLs development focuses on the perception, planning, and control systems, as well as a multi-agent autonomy software architecture. The goal is to have a software kit that can be deployed on arbitrary vehicles for arbitrary missions, with minimal modifications and code changes. The architecture and its components (known as CARACaS, or Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing) have been demonstrated in complex missions with full-scale vehicles, showing robustness to the challenges of real-world sensing and communications systems.
Description:  The student will assist in the development of CARACaS for use on autonomous vehicles. There are several possible focus areas, including: (1) development, implementation, and testing of algorithms for the multi-agent cooperative planning and motion control; (2) adapting CARACaS for use on aerial vehicles (quadrotors) and conducting initial experiments with multiple cooperating agents; (3) contribution to the CARACAS software framework, improving libraries and toolkits for messaging, logging, playback, visualization, simulation, and operations. The student will contribute to a JPL team of autonomy and software experts and several other student interns.
References:  M. T. Wolf, A. Rahmani, J.-P. de la Croix, G. Woodward, J. Vander Hook, D. Brown, S. Schaffer, C. Lim, P. Bailey, S. Tepsuporn, M. Pomerantz, V. Nguyen, C. Sorice, M. Sandoval, CARACaS multi-agent maritime autonomy for unmanned surface vehicles in the Swarm II harbor patrol demonstration, Proc. SPIE 10195, Unmanned Systems Technology XIX, 101950O, May 2017. doi: 10.1117/12.2262067

USV Swarm Video:

Y. Kuwata, M. T. Wolf, D. Zarzhitsky, and T. L. Huntsberger, "Safe Maritime Autonomous Navigation with COLREGS, Using Velocity Obstacles," IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 39(1): 110-119, 2014.

M. T. Wolf, C. Assad, Y. Kuwata, A. Howard, H. Aghazarian, D. Zhu, T. Lu, A. Trebi-Ollennu, and T. Huntsberger, 360-degree visual detection and target tracking on an autonomous surface vehicle, Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 27, Nov. 2010

T. Huntsberger, H. Aghazarian, A. Howard, and D. Trotz, Stereo visionbased navigation for autonomous surface vessels, Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 28, Jan. 2011.

Student Requirements:  Strong software skills, with experience in C++, Python, and Linux preferable. Experience in motion planning, simulation, multi-agent systems, or web development is helpful, depending on the desired role/contribution.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: No.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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