Graphical simulators for AUV development

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A long development time is needed from the design to the implementation of an AUV. During the first steps, simulation plays an important role, since it allows for the development of preliminary versions of the control system to be integrated. Once the robot is ready, the control systems are implemented, tuned and tested. The use of a real-time simulator can help closing the gap between off-line simulation and real testing using the already implemented robot. When properly interfaced with the robot hardware, a real-time graphical simulation with a "hardware in the loop" configuration, can allow for the testing of the implemented control system running in the actual robot hardware. Hence, the development time is drastically reduced. These paper overviews the field of graphical simulators used for AUV development proposing a classification. It also presents NEPTUNE, a multi-vehicle, real-time, graphical simulator based on OpenGL that allows hardware in the loop simulations ​
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