* The fastest way to get from one location to another on land may be to follow a straight line. But it's another story under water.
Strong and shifting currents and different shore geography make figuring out the best route under water a complex matter. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have developed software that may solve that problem.
The team has come up with a mathematical process that finds the best paths for automated underwater vehicles (A'UVs) to travel. The system can determine routes to save time or energy or create a course that will allow for the maximum amount of data to be collected.
Propelled and gliding AUVs are used for a variety of purposes including military reconnaissance, harbor protection, mapping and oceanographic research, and maintenance of deep-sea oil wells.
Researchers have made it easier to optimize paths for a swarm of underwater vehicles moving simultaneously toward multiple destinations.
The group simulated a virtual fleet of 1,000 AUVs deployed from one or more ships and seeking different targets. The algorithm researchers use can sometimes lead to incredibly awkward-looking...