Prototype of HIL Test Platform for Autonomous USV - Simulation and Visualization of Vessel Surroundings
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This thesis considers the simulation and visualization of the maritime surroundings of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) in a Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulator. The development of the simulator was conducted as two master's projects, and resulted in the first prototype of a HIL simulator meant for verification testing of two USVs developed by Kongsberg Maritime AS in cooperation with Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI). The two USVs are called Odin and Jolner, where Odin is the primary target of the HIL simulator. The simulator consists of 3 main software modules: the Surroundings simulator, the Dynamics simulator and a graphical user interface (GUI), where the modeling and simulation of the dynamics of the USVs are considered in Ødegaard (2017). The desired sensor systems to simulate in the Surroundings simulator are an Automatic Identification System (AIS) and a dedicated target detection module (TDM), which is a sensor fusion of AIS, radar and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors. An investigation of these sensor systems and how they can be simulated with appropriate levels of sensor noise are considered. A basic sensor fusion algorithm is applied to artificial data from AIS, radar and LiDAR to make an educated guess in regards to the performance of the TDM, which is currently under development at FFI. Possible simulation scenarios and objects to include in the simulations are discussed, with emphasis on usefulness in regards to the current development stage of Odin. The Surroundings simulator is implemented based on this discussion and the investigation of the relevant sensor systems. A GUI is also implemented, with real-time plots and visualization of the simulation in both 2D and 3D. The functionality of the HIL simulator in its entirety is demonstrated through an example, simulating Odin in an open sea scenario under presence of icebergs and other vessels. Odin navigates in the simulated environment using thrust inputs as logged from a real, unrelated mission. Unfortunately, the control system and the TDM of Odin is still under development, so the Surroundings simulator could not be tested with the real control system in the loop. It is, however, implemented simple motion control, which enabled testing of the Dynamics simulator against Odin's control system. This is proven successful in Ødegaard (2017), and indicates that the interface between the simulator and the control system works as intended. It is hence expected that the simulator in its entirety will provide a complete and functional HIL simulator platform for Odin and Jolner when their respective control systems are ready to receive data from the sensor systems considered in this thesis.