The use of robots and remote control underwater vehicles are nothing new for ocean exploration, but researchers at MIT want to take things a step further: allow robots to think for themselves, so they can have cognitive capabilities.
Operators are able to program the robots to complete a high-level task, and the underwater robots are able to figure out what they are doing once submerged. It can be a helpful feature so researchers can monitor what is happening below the surface, but the customized craft will be responsible to determine what they should be doing.
"We wanted to show that these vehicles could plan their own missions, and execute, adapt, and re-plan them alone, without human support," said Brian Williams, mission planning principal developer at MIT. "We can give the system choices, like, 'Go to either this or that science location and map it out,' or 'communicate via an acoustic modem, or a satellite link."