Autonomous vehicles recently used for a collaborative competition are putting real world application to the test by leveraging machine learning to support Naval maintenance activities. During the 2019 Director’s Cup, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) scientists and engineers were challenged to create and field a fully autonomous, artificially intelligent, ground-based vehicle to neutralize a dangerous battlespace.
The Autonomous Dry Dock Survey (ADDS) Team, comprised of NSWC PCD scientists and engineers across three technical departments, partnered with personnel from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) to customize the Clearpath Robotics™ Jackal Unmanned Ground Vehicle platform to tackle a real world application – specifically autonomous inspections of naval shipyard dry docks.
In addition to collaboration with the PNSY Innovative Projects Team, the ADDS vehicles provide the Navy with significant cost savings, while ensuring the ability to monitor safe environments within the nation’s shipyard facilities. Dr. Patrick Walters, NSWC PCD mechanical engineer, said the lessons learned from the Director’s Cup competition were a natural starting point for development of the ADDS robot.
The ADDS project is sponsored by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Maintenance and Industrial Operations Directorate Innovation Branch (SEA04X3) and led by the Tactical Innovation Implementation Lab of Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport, further reinforcing the One NAVSEA philosophy.