In any of these applications, reasoning about collision avoidance with other surface vessels is a key aspect of ensuring safe operation. Typically an autonomy system reasoning about collision avoidance in marine surface vehicles includes consideration of the COLREGS or the Coast Guard Collision Regulations. However, the COLREGS were written for humans and prescribe actions to be taken to avoid collisions with a single other vessel. It is assumed that humans will apply common sense to extenuating circumstances, and generalize reasonably when multiple vehicles need to be avoided simultaneously. Humans are resilient in this manner, routinely handling arbitrarily complex and unique situations.
To enable this resiliency in an automated system requires an autonomy architecture that also extends to an arbitrary number of simultaneous vessels and mission considerations. Over the last 20 years, we have designed such an autonomy system from the ground up, based on our developed mathematical model for multi-objective optimization called Interval Programming (IvP).
This architecture is known as MOOS-IvP and is has been distributed at MIT under an open source license since 2006 at www.moos-ivp.org. The public code-base now represents roughly 40 work years of development effort over many dozens of autonomy and support modules. The IvP mathematical model supports a behavior-based architecture extendible by users for their own missions and platforms, allowing for commercial or proprietary extensions layered on top of the publicly available code-base. The first version of the COLREGS collision avoidance modules was included in the 2017 release. MOOS-IvP has been used around the world on dozens of unmanned marine platforms in academia, industry and defense.