Terrain constrained path planning for long-haul cables

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8221-8235
Journal / PublicationOptics Express
Issue number6
Online published6 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019



A method for path planning for a long-haul submarine optical fiber cable connecting two locations on the surface of the Earth is presented. Previous work on path planning takes account of the laying cost of the cable including material, labor, and its survivability, with consideration of risk of future cable break arising from laying of the cable in sensitive and risky areas, such as, in particular, earthquake prone areas. Previous work has also taken account of variation in the cost per unit length to optimize shielding (and associated increased costs) in higher risk areas. The key novelty here is to take account of the important requirement to reduce the likelihood of capsize of a remotely operated cable laying vehicle as it buries the cable in an uneven terrain. This instability risk depends on the direction of the path and slope of the terrain and is included here in the laying cost. Minimization of the cable laying cost and the expected number of potential cable repairs are the two objectives used to formulate the multi-objective optimal control problem. Using a Pareto approach, we solve the problem via dynamic programming and a computationally efficient algorithm based on the Ordered Upwind Method. Numerical results are consistent with an intuitive assessment of path quality, e.g., we can observe that the algorithm avoids high slope areas when better solutions are clearly available. Pareto optimal solutions and an approximate Pareto front are obtained to provide insight and guidance for cable path design that considers trade-offs between cost effectiveness (that includes consideration for stability of the remotely operated cable laying vehicle) and seismic resilience.

Research Area(s)

  • long-haul cables, instability risk, direction of the path, slope of the terrain, dynamic programming

Citation Format(s)

Terrain constrained path planning for long-haul cables. / Wang, Zengfu; Wang, Qing; Moran, Bill; Zukerman, Moshe.

In: Optics Express, Vol. 27, No. 6, 18.03.2019, p. 8221-8235.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review