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Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge 2022

About This Course

Many of the final frontiers of exploration on Earth are underwater – the deep ocean, water-filled cave systems, and under Antarctic ice shelves . Exploring the farthest reaches of these areas requires underwater piloted or semi-autonomous vehicles. Hydrostatic pressure, dynamic currents, darkness, curious sea creatures and slimy bacteria make underwater places difficult to navigate. True underwater autonomy is difficult to achieve, and even the most advanced piloted vehicles are frequently lost. This course will introduce students to the challenges faced by real-world ocean engineers in designing, building and programming autonomous underwater autonomous vehicles (AUVs). The culmination of the summer course will be an exciting test of true autonomy – the student AUVs will autonomously navigate a simulated underwater obstacle course, applying real-time decision making based on feedback from onboard sensors.

Topics covered in this course:

  • Vehicle control
  • Sensor integration (software)
  • Data analysis
  • Image processing
  • Autonomy


  • Python
  • Physics (any level)
  • Linear algebra (any level)

Important Dates

  • Jan. 15: Enrollment opens
  • Feb. 1: Course starts
  • March 31: Applications for summer due [See Course Logistics for requirements]
  • Apr. 30: Applicants notified of summer acceptance


Course Staff Image #2

Dr. Madeline Miller

Dr. Madeline Miller is a Technical Staff member of the Advanced Undersea Systems and Technology group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Her research focuses on the intersection of ocean dynamics and acoustics, and its effects on remote sensing and underwater communication. Her favorite sea creature is the 52-Hertz whale.

Course Staff Image #2

Dr. Joseph Edwards

Dr. Joseph Edwards is a Senior Staff member of the Advanced Undersea Systems and Technology group and Deputy Director of the Autonomous Systems research line at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. His work with underwater robots and sensing technology has brought him to many interesting places in the world, including southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific and the Arctic Ocean. His research focuses on acoustic remote sensing, automation and machine learning. His favorite sea creature is the leatherback turtle.

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