US Office of Naval Research Awards $1.25M For Research of Autonomous Unmanned Marine Vehicle Platforms for Coastal Surveillance

Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has been awarded a $1.25 million grant by the United States Office of Naval Research (ONR) to research the support of autonomous unmanned marine vehicle platforms for coastal surveillance, coastal surveys, target tracking and protection of at-sea assets.

“Our focus will be on developing a multi-vehicle system that can safely and reliably navigate coastal waters with a high level of autonomy while performing assigned tasks,” Manhar Dhanak, director of SeaTech, the Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering in FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, said. “We will build on our ongoing efforts and leverage technological advances in sensor systems for perception and communication, as well as in computer architecture and robotic frameworks.”

Dhanak will lead the project working with a team of engineers, a postdoctoral associate, and graduate and undergraduate students at SeaTech. The five-year project will entail developing unmanned surface vehicles that will serve as docking stations, power sources, and data transfer centers for unmanned underwater vehicles and aerial drones. SeaTech will develop new software tools for multi-sensor perception, collision avoidance, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and improved low-level control in adverse weather conditions.

“Fostering collaborative partnerships in scientific research is essential to ensuring that the United States remains at the forefront of innovation and technology,” said Stella N. Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “We are very pleased to continue our relationship with the Office of Naval Research. This latest grant will enable us to develop important technology that will help to secure our U.S. coastal waters and our assets at-sea both nationally and globally.”