Andre Spielvogel Defended his PhD Thesis

Andrew Spielvogel’s PhD Defense on March 6, 2020

Andrew Spielvogel presented his thesis research entitled “Online Inertial Measurement Unit Sensor Bias and Attitude Estimation For The Calibration And Improved Performance Of Attitude And Heading Reference Systems” on March 6, 2020. His thesis committee included Professor Louis Whitcomb (primary advisor), Assistant Professor Marin Kobilarov, and Professor Noah Cowan.

Abstract:

Dynamic instrumentation and estimation of vehicle attitude is critical to the accurate navigation of land, sea, and air vehicles in dynamic motion. The focus of this thesis is the development of algorithms for improved performance of attitude and heading reference systems (AHRSs) and robotic vehicle navigation. Inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor bias estimation methods for use in the calibration of AHRS and an adaptive attitude estimator operating directly of $SO(3)$ are reported. The reported algorithms provide online calibration and attitude estimation methods which enable more accurate navigation for robotic vehicles.

This thesis differentiates AHRSs into two categories: AHRSs that estimate true-North heading and those that estimate magnetic north heading. First, this thesis report several novel algorithms for micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) IMU sensor bias estimation. Observability, stability, and parameter convergence are evaluated in numerical simulations, full-scale vehicle laboratory experiments, and full-scale field trials in the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Second, this thesis reports an adaptive sensor bias observer and attitude observer operating directly on SO(3) for true-North gyrocompass systems that utilize six-degree-of-freedom IMUs with three-axis accelerometers and three-axis angular rate gyroscopes (without magnetometers) to dynamically estimate the instrument’s time-varying true-North attitude (roll, pitch, and geodetic heading) in real-time while the instrument is subject to a priori unknown rotations. Stability proofs for the reported bias and attitude observers, preliminary simulations, and a full-scale vehicle trial are reported.

The reported calibration and attitude estimation methods are shown experimentally to improve calibration of AHRS attitude estimation over current state of the art sensor bias estimation methods, and this thesis presents a true-North gyrocompass system based on adaptive observers for use with strap-down IMU. These results may prove to be useful in the development of navigation systems for small low-cost robotic vehicles.

Bio

Andrew R. Spielvogel was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1990. From 2004-2009, he attended the Green Mountain Valley School where he was Valedictorian of the Class of 2009. Afterwards, he attended Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude in May 2013 with a S.B. in Electrical Engineering with high honors in field. While at Harvard, Andrew competed for four years on the NCAA Division 1 Harvard Alpine Ski team where he was named three times to the All-Academic Team (2011-2013) and twice captain of the ski team (2011-2012, 2012-2013). After graduating college, Andrew was an Electrical Engineering Intern at Harvest Automation where he worked on a vision system for mobile robots in the nursery and greenhouse industries. In August 2014, he enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University, where he received a Robotics MSE in 2017.

Recent DSCL Publications

Andrew Spielvogel published a paper in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters:
Andrew. R. Spielvogel* and Louis L. Whitcomb, A Stable Adaptive Observer for Hard-Iron and Soft-Iron Bias Calibration and Compensation for Two-Axis Magnetometers: Theory and Experimental Evaluation, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, (5)2:1295-1302, April 2020, http:/dx.doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2020.2967308

Andrew Spielvogel published a paper in the International Journal of Robotics Research:
Andrew. R. Spielvogel and L. L. Whitcomb (2020). Adaptive bias and attitude observer on the special orthogonal group for true-north gyrocompass systems: Theory and preliminary results. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 39(2–3), 321–338. Invited paper. https://doi.org/10.1177/0278364919881689

Giancarlo Troni published a paper in the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics:
Giancarlo Troni and Louis L. Whitcomb. Field Sensor Bias Calibration with Angular-Rate Sensors: Theory and Experimental Evaluation with Application to Magnetometer Calibration, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. 24(4):1698-1710, August, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TMECH.2019.2920367

Zak Harris published a book chapter in Cooperative Localization and Navigation: Theory, Research and Practice:
Zachary J. Harris and Louis L. Whitcomb. Preliminary Study of Cooperative Navigation of Underwater Vehicles without a DVL Utilizing Range and Range-Rate Observations, Invited Book Chapter, in Cooperative Localization and Navigation: Theory, Research and Practice (#K376186), Chao Gao and Guorong Zhao, Editors. CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group), June 2019. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780429507229 Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Cooperative-Localization-Navigation-Research-Practice

WIll Pryor presented a paper at ICRA 2019 in Montreal:
Will Pryor**, Balazs P. Vagvolgyi, William J. Gallagher, Anton Deguet, Simon Leonard, Louis L. Whitcomb, and Peter Kazanzides, Experimental Evaluation of Teleoperation Interfaces for Cutting of Satellite Insulation, in 2019 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Montreal, Canada, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2019.8793968

Sri Kamal Kandala paper published in International Journal of Hyperthermia the received the International Journal of Hyperthermia’s 2019 Editor’s Award in Physics/Engineering:
Sri Kamal Kandala, Eleni Liapi, Louis L. Whitcomb, Anilchandra Attaluri & Robert Ivkov Temperature-controlled power modulation compensates for heterogeneous nanoparticle distributions: a computational optimization analysis for magnetic hyperthermia, in International Journal of Hyperthermia, 36:1, 115-129, 2019, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02656736.2018.1538538

Zachary Harris Defended his PhD Thesis

Zachary Harris presented his thesis research entitled “Model-Based Cooperative Acoustic Navigation and Parameter Identification for Underactuated Underwater Vehicles” on August 16, 2019. His thesis committee included Professor Louis Whitcomb (primary advisor), Assistant Professor Marin Kobilarov, and Senior Scientist Dr. Dana Yoerger of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Abstract

This thesis reports novel theoretical and experimental results addressing two increasingly important problems in underwater robotics: model-based cooperative acoustic navigation for UV lacking a DVL and dynamic-model parameter estimation for underactuated UVs, such as the now-ubiquitous class of torpedo-shaped UVs. This thesis reports an extension of a method to identify simultaneously UV dynamical plant model parameters (parameters for critical terms such as mass, added mass, hydrodynamic drag, and buoyancy) and control-actuator parameters (control-surface models and thruster model) in 6 DOF to tolerate simulated sensor measurement noise representative of representative of real-world sensor data, as well as extensive numerical simulations to evaluate the sensitivity of the approach to sensor noise.

The current state-of-the-art in OWTT combined acoustic communication and navigation (cooperative acoustic navigation) is to utilize purely kinematic, constant-velocity plant process models together with an on-board bottom-lock DVL to provide frequent, high-accuracy velocity corrections. However, DVLs are expensive, power consumers, physically large, and limited to acoustic bottom-lock range, which restricts their use to O(10-100m) above the sea floor or beneath surface ice. Simulation and experimental results reported herein indicate the submerged UV position estimate from cooperative acoustic navigation with a kinematic model is poor and even unstable in the absence of DVL velocity observations. These simulation and experimental results also show that cooperative acoustic navigation with a dynamic plant model performs well without a DVL and outperforms DVL-based dead reckoning, at least in the situation presented herein where the magnitude of the ambient water-current velocity is small.

The performance of the UV dynamic model, i.e., its ability to predict the vehicle’s state, depends primarily on the accuracy of the model structure and model parameters. Accurate estimates of these parameters are also required for model-based control, fault detection, and simulation of UV. While the general form of dynamical plant models for UVs is well understood, accurate values for dynamic-model parameters are impossible to determine analytically, are not provided by UV manufacturers, and can only be determined experimentally. Moreover, oceanographic UVs are subject to frequent changes in physical configuration, including changes in ballasting and trim, on-board equipment, and instrumentation (both external and internal), which may significantly affect the vehicle dynamics. Plant-model parameter estimation is generally more difficult for underactuated, torpedo-shaped UVs than for fully actuated UVs with thrusters because: 1) the reduced actuation available on underactuated UV limits the plant excitation that can be induced from the control inputs, and 2) torpedo-shaped vehicles are often actuated with control surfaces (e.g., fins, wings, rudders, etc), which are difficult to characterize independently of the plant-model parameters. For these reasons, we seek an approach to parameter estimation for underactuated UVs in 6 DOF that simultaneously estimates plant and actuator parameters and can be performed routinely in the field with minimal time and effort by the vehicle operator.

The goals of this thesis are to advance the state-of-the-art of (1) model-based state estimation for cooperative acoustic navigation of UVs and (2) dynamic plant-model parameter identification for underactuated UVs. The first goal is addressed with the evaluation of a dynamic UV plant model in cooperative acoustic navigation and a comparative analysis of the dynamic UV model and kinematic UV model without a DVL. The second goal is addressed in a collaborative effort comprising: (1) the development of the NBLS algorithm for underactuated UV plant-parameter and actuator-parameter estimation in 6 DOF, and (2) the extension of an AID algorithm, and corresponding stability proof, to estimate simultaneously plant-model and actuator parameters for underactuated UVs with diagonal mass and drag matrices in 6 DOF with realistic sensor measurement noise. These capabilities were verified by in situ vehicle experiments with the JHU Iver3 AUV and by simulation studies.

Bio

Zachary Jess Harris was born in Louisiana in 1988. He received bachelor of science degrees in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture from Webb Institute in 2011. In August 2013, he enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering doctoral program at Johns Hopkins University. Zak has been recognized with several awards, including a Webb Institute full academic scholarship 2007-2011; Marine Technology Society Remotely Operated Vehicle scholarship first prize 2007 and runner-up 2009; Johns Hopkins University Mechanical Engineering Department Bowles Family Fellowship 2013-2014; and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship 2014-2017.

Recent DSCL Publications

Laughlin Barker and Zak Harris presented papers at the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane
Laughlin D. L. Barker and Louis L. Whitcomb, A Preliminary Study of Ice-Relative Underwater Vehicle Navigation Beneath Moving Sea Ice, 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Brisbane, 2018.
Zachary J. Harris and Louis L. Whitcomb, Preliminary Evaluation of Cooperative Navigation of Underwater Vehicles without a DVL Utilizing a Dynamic Process Model, 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Brisbane, 2018.

Tyler Paine and Zak Harris presented a paper at MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2018 in Charleston, SC
Tyler M. Paine, and Louis L. Whitcomb, Adaptive Parameter Identification of Underactuated Unmanned Underwater Vehicles: A Preliminary Simulation Study, MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2018, Charleston, SC, 2018.
Zak Harris presented a paper at MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2018 in Charleston: Zachary J. Harris and Louis L. Whitcomb, Preliminary Simulation Study of Combined Control and Cooperative Navigation for Underwater Vehicles, MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2018, Charleston, SC, 2018.

Andrew Spielvogel, Zak Harris, and Tyler Paine presented papers at the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Madrid, Spain
Andrew R. Spielvogel and Louis L. Whitcomb, Adaptive Sensor Bias Estimation in Nine Degree of Freedom Inertial Measurement Units: Theory and Preliminary Evaluation, 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Madrid, Spain, 2018.
Zachary J. Harris, Tyler M. Paine, and Louis L. Whitcomb, Preliminary Evaluation of Null-Space Dynamic Process Model Identification with Application to Cooperative Navigation of Underwater Vehicles, 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Madrid, Spain, 2018.

Andrew Spielvogel presented a paper at Robotics: Science and Systems 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Andrew. R. Spielvogel and Louis. L. Whitcomb, Adaptive Bias and Attitude Observer on the Special Orthogonal Group for True-North Gyrocompass Systems: Theory and Preliminary Results, in Robotics: Science and Systems, 2018, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, June 26-30, 2018.

Dr. Mike Jakuba presented a paper at the 2018 IEEE Aerospace Conference in Big Sky, Montana
Michael V. Jakuba, Christopher R. German, Andrew D. Bowen, Louis L. Whitcomb, Christopher McFarland*, Kevin Hand, Andrew Branch, Steve Chien. Teleoperation and Robotics under Ice: Implications for Planetary Exploration, 2018 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 2018.

Dr. Ian Vaughn presented a paper at the 2018 IEEE/OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Workshop (AUV)
Ian Vaughn, Stefano Suman, Zac Berkowitz, Jennifer Vaccaro, Sean Kelley, Justin Fujii, Michael Jakuba, Jonathan Howland, Louis Whitcomb, Carl Kaiser, Transitioning to Open Source at 6000m, in 2018 IEEE/OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Workshop (AUV 2018)

Short Course in Robot Systems Programming at the Woods hole Oceanographic Institution

Louis Whitcomb is leading a short course in Robot Systems Programming with the Robot Operating System (ROS) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Nov 29, 2017 – Dec 1, 2017.  More information is available here.  JHU ME PhD student Andrew Spielvogel is assisting with the course.

This course will employ  EduMIP mobile robots as a teaching platform for programming ROS in Lunux.

Recent DSCL Student Publications

In September Jonathan Bohren presented at the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2017) in Vancouver : Jonathan Bohren and Louis L. Whitcomb, “A Preliminary Study of an Intent-Recognition-based Traded Control Architecture for High Latency Telemanipulation”, 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2017), Vancouver.

In May Andrew Spielvogel presented at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2017) in Singapore: A. R. Spielvogel and L. L. Whitcomb, “A stable adaptive attitude estimator on SO(3) for true-North seeking gyrocompass systems: Theory and preliminary simulation evaluation,” 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Singapore, 2017, pp. 3231-3236. doi: 10.1109/ICRA.2017.7989367,  URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=7989367&isnumber=7988677

StephenMartin published a paper on nonlinear model based control in IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology in May 2017: S. C. Martin and L. L. Whitcomb, “Nonlinear Model-Based Tracking Control of Underwater Vehicles With Three Degree-of-Freedom Fully Coupled Dynamical Plant Models: Theory and Experimental Evaluation,” in IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, vol. PP, no. 99, pp. 1-11. doi: 10.1109/TCST.2017.2665974, URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=7920421&isnumber=4389040

Ph.D. Student Jonathan Bohren’s Thesis Defense

Ph.D. Student Jonathan Bohren defended his thesis entitled ‘Intent-Recognition-Based Traded Control for Telerobotic Assembly Over High-Latency Telemetry’ on November 17, 2016! Congratulations Dr. Jon! In Jan 2016 Jon will begin as a Senior Robotics Engineer at Honeybee Robotics.