The iceberg observation problem: using multiple agents to monitor and observe ablating target sources
Coogle, Richard A.
Howard, Ayanna M.
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Ships that operate in polar regions continue to face the threat of floating ice sheets and icebergs generated from an ice ablation process. Systems have been implemented to track these threats, with varying degrees of success. In this paper, a definition is proposed for this tracking problem that re-casts it within a class of robotic, multiagent target observation problems. The focus in this new definition is on minimizing the time an initial contact for newly generated targets is obtained, as opposed to obtaining a contact long after a target has been generated. Focusing on the initial contact time provides for the ability to enact early countermeasures. A model is provided for the target sources, as well as metrics for computing costs associated with the model for reallocating robotic agents during an observation task. The effectiveness of the solution compared with an existing observation technique is demonstrated using simulation.