DARPA's Angler program seeks to develop undersea autonomous robotic solutions capable of navigating ocean depths, surveying wide areas, and physically manipulating manmade objects of interest on the sea floor. The program builds on the agency's previous advances in autonomous robotic manipulation on Earth and in space, and aims to process mission commands, sensor inputs, and information about the deep ocean environment to complete tasks with no human intervention.
Despite breakthrough advancements in terrestrial robotics, space robotics, and underwater sensing, autonomy and exploration of the seafloor challenge the capabilities of modern robotics. To provide infrastructure resilience and maintenance over the vastness of the ocean, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) need to overcome reliance on GPS localization and human communication with advanced autonomy, manipulation, and perception capabilities.
To address these challenges, the DARPA Angler program plans to develop leap-ahead technological innovations in the fields of communication-deprived mission autonomy, underwater perception and localization, and robotic manipulation and system control. By maintaining standalone operational autonomy at depth, the intent is for the robot to perform search and manipulation objectives autonomously, even in dark, turbulent, and semi-opaque sea conditions without requiring input or communication from surface or land-based personnel.
The Angler program envisions numerous benefits, including:
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