I am currently taking part in a project where a team is building an autonomous underwater glider with obstacle avoidance features.
However, since I do not have a background in Robotics (I am in Computer Science), I am having a very hard time knowing what to do.
So far, I have read multiple papers on obstacle avoidance algorithms, physics simulators, and underwater glider simulators but I am frozen in panic at the amount of information lying in front of me. There are so many simulators and I have no idea which one to learn, no idea how to use them, no idea how to personalize and configure them to my need.
My question is: I want to be able to do these things:
- be able to modify the shape of the underwater glider. The hydrodynamics should depend on the shape of the underwater.
- be able to simulate inputs from the sensors: I will be using single beam forward-looking sonars for obstacle avoidance. The point of the simulation is to allow me to test different configurations or arrangements of sonars.
- be able to simulate actuators, so propellers, wings, etc.
- parameterize some properties of the water and the environment, so gravity or water turbidity
- be able to write navigation and obstacle avoidance policy in a programming language such as Python or C++
- render the whole scene in acceptable fidelity
What would be an approach chosen by an expert? I am currently tempted to write my simulator from scratch as this would be the most straightforward way but I would be wasting a lot of time.