Engineers at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) at John C. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, remotely collaborated with their counterparts from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division on a joint autonomous vehicle demonstration in Brookeville, Maryland, Sept. 25-29.
This integrated unmanned demonstration involved NAVOCEANO's parent command, the Naval Meteorological and Oceanography Command (NMOC), and Carderock collaborating on autonomous bathymetry through missions run by NAVOCEANO from Mississippi and supervised by Carderock's Autonomous Vehicle and Instrumentation Group (Code 8633) on station in the Triadelphia Reservoir near Maryland's Brighton Dam.
According to Jim Rice, Code 8633 group leader, the group teamed with NMOC to develop the capability of communicating with an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) during submerged operation from a shore station using an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) as a communications relay. The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in August planning this collaborative autonomous demonstration using a kayak catamaran USV developed by the Autonomous Vehicle and Instrumentation Group and a Remus 100 UUV with side-scan sonar capability provided by NMOC, with the USV and remote shore station in Mississippi linked via satellite connection.
Engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division launch an unmanned surface vehicle in Triadelphia Reservoir near Brighton Dam in Brookville, Md.
"The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the capability of getting data status updates and mission re-direct commands between a submerged UUV and a remote shore station using a USV relay," Rice said. "What we are offering them now is a more continuous communication path and ability to control and change the UUV's mission via the USV, or have more constant updates of where the UUV is, what it's doing and what its condition is."
The demonstration was carried out via preprogrammed missions in the reservoir, with the UUV running east to west and back taking oceanographic measurements in the reservoir for about a half hour while being autonomously trailed at a safe distance by the USV. The two vehicles communicated regularly via acoustic modem, with the USV providing guidance updates to the UUV and relaying UUV sensor data via satellite link to NMOC.
Matt Greytak, a control systems engineer assigned to Carderock's Ship Control Branch (Code 861), developed the USV autonomy algorithm used in the demonstration. After having worked on them for several years, he said these algorithms are advanced enough to support the USV autonomously with little to no human intervention, allowing the parties to achieve one of the MOU's objectives of exploring the capabilities offered by employing a more maneuverable USV as support to the UUV, compared to using a slower USV in the past that couldn't keep up with the UUV.
Group member Ben Gordon said that while Carderock engineers supervised the demonstration for safety, the success of the demonstration proves this may not be necessary for future tests.
"We're here to coordinate missions and make sure the commands they (NMOC) send to the kayak are getting through, but once both parties have more experience with this system, it will almost be unnecessary for us to be here," said Gordon, an electrical engineer assigned to Code 8633. "As it is, they're starting the kayak, they're sending and receiving data and everything is working the way we were hoping. And they're doing all that from Mississippi."
According to Gordon, Carderock engineers developed the USV for a project for the Office of Naval Research for the purpose of tracking a submersible with a surface vehicle, as it is doing here. This demonstration added a direct acoustic link between the two vehicles and a satellite connection between the USV and shore station to previous methods, as well as the ability to send simple redirect instructions to the USV during the mission.
Ben Gordon and Kyle Coffman, engineers assigned to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Divisions™ Autonomous Vehicle and Instrumentation Group, supervise a joint integrated autonomous demonstration being run remotely by colleagues from the Naval Oceanographic Office
Rice added the collaboration demonstrated a relatively mature UUV/USV system that can be fielded without significant additional investment, achieving another goal of the MOU.
"Using the satellite connection, this can be controlled basically anywhere in the world," Rice said. "The mission is not dependent on that connection; this particular UUV will run with a preloaded mission. But the test demonstrates that you can have a UUV doing an oceanographic survey anywhere in the world with someone controlling it remotely."
Rice said this was Carderock's first collaboration with NMOC. He believes both parties are happy with the results and looks forward to working with them again. Other Carderock engineers participating in the demonstration included Judah Milgram from Carderock's Sea-based Aviation and Aeromechanics Branch (Code 882) and Woody Pfitsch, Alex Punzi and Kyle Corfman from Code 863.
NAVOCEANO is responsible for providing oceanographic products and services to all elements of the Department of Defense and maximizes sea power by applying relevant oceanographic knowledge in support of U.S. National Security. For more information on NAVOCEANO, click here.
NMOC provides information on the physical environment - including wind, weather, wave height, currents, temperature and precise time - that is required by Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and special forces to operate and navigate safely and effectively. Located at John C. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, NMOC headquarters directs and oversees 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders around the world in all warfare areas to make better decisions faster than the adversary.
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, a part of Naval Sea Systems Command, leads the Navy in hull, mechanical and electrical engineering. Headquartered in West Bethesda, Maryland, Carderock Division employs approximately 2,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel and includes detachments in Norfolk, Virginia (Little Creek); Port Canaveral, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Bangor, Washington; Ketchikan, Alaska; and Bayview, Idaho.
For more information, click here.
2013 International Human-Powered Submari
Ocean Power Technologies Demonstrates So
Kongsberg Maritime Delivers First Set of
Sonardyne Supplies Custom Engineered Aut
Underwater Mass Spectrometer from SRI In
BOEM to Conduct Environmental Review of
BOEM to Conduct Environmental Review of
NOC Welcomes New UK Strategy Reaffirming
NOC Welcomes New UK Strategy Reaffirming
Teledyne Invests in Ocean Aero, a Design
ORPC’s RivGen® Power System Demonstratio
The Future Is Now: Navy’s Autonomous Swa
Autonomous Technology Could Save Offshor
SeeByte has been awarded a contract for
SeeByte has Successfully Completed Phase
Bob The Drifter Inspires Singapore Class
CMRE Successfully Demonstrates Systems f
Rolls-Royce to Lead Autonomous Ship Rese
SeeByte, ASV and the Marine Biological A
TerraSond Completes First NOAA U.S. Char
The Autonomous Robotics Flying Node Syst
Significant New Advance in Autonomous AS
Fugro to Conduct Airborne LiDAR Bathymet
Autonomous Marine Systems Secures $3.5M
Seebyte and ASV Form Partnership to Deve
Industry Code of Conduct for Maritime Au
Asv Builds Four C-Worker 5 Autonomous Su
ASL’s 4-Frequency AZFP Lease Instrument
First Public Demonstration of Virtual Ro
NOC to Invest £10m Into Autonomous Syste
Saipem Upgrades to Sonardyne Autonomous
SCS and Forum Host Demonstration Event f
FSI Announces Two Products for Relocatio
General Dynamics Autonomous Underwater V
EdgeTech to Conduct On-water Demonstrati
Endeavor Management and DeepDriver Annou
Conducting Multiple Frequency Acoustic W
CARIS Onboard Brings Real-Time Data Proc
U.S. Navy Tests Autonomous Swarmboats in
Action-Packed Training and Demonstration
Bluefin SandShark Autonomous Underwater
ECA Group to Develop Ultra-Deep Autonomo
Integrated Communications Network for Au
Challenges In The Deep: The Role Of Man
US, Japan Successfully Conduct First SM-
US Coast Guard, Navy Conduct Oceania Mar
Riptide Autonomous Solutions Welcomes Ne
EdgeTech to Conduct On-Water Demonstrati
Riptide Autonomous Solutions Announces E
Norway Procures Kongsberg HUGIN Autonomo
ASV Global Opens Autonomous Vessel Missi
Navy, Marines Spotlight the Future of Am
YARA and KONGSBERG: World’s First Autono
May Editorial Focus - Riptide Autonomous
Groundbreaking Autonomous Offshore Suppo
Planet Ocean & ASV Global Demonstrate Au
SeaRobotics Awarded Contract for Autonom
BAE to Launch UK's First Maritime Autono
NOC Scientist Receives Major Research Gr
Demonstration of the “Tesla of the Seas"
Demonstration of New Internet-of-Things
The Journey to an Autonomous Marine Ecos
ASV Global Delivers C-Cat 3 Autonomous V
iXblue Launches New Multi-Purpose Autono
MQ-4C with Autonomous Capability Enhance
ASV Global Delivers Autonomous System to
Kongsberg Maritime: New Norwegian Autono
Riptide Autonomous Solutions Opens New F
World-First Autonomous Subsea Survey and
Autonomous Vessel Advancements Challenge
L3 OceanServer Unveils Advanced Iver Aut
Riptide Autonomous Solutions Launches Se
World-First Autonomous Offshore Robot to
BOEM to Conduct Environmental Review Off
Massterly, The World's First Autonomous
EU-Funded Project to Enable Autonomous N
USS Jason Dunham and Egyptian Navy Condu
Metal Shark and ASV Global Introduces “S
Autonomous Robotics Limited Announces Pe
Iridium and Rolls-Royce Marine to Expand
Riptide Autonomous Solutions Launches Ri
Helping Unmanned Autonomous Vessels Navi
Autonomous Vehicles Demonstration for Mi
NSWC Carderock Division Selects Sonardyn
Autonomous Technology for Conventional M
Autonomous Robotics Successfully Test Fl
UTEC Launches New Autonomous Underwater