RoboBoats show off their moves in ONR competition

The 16-team competition is the latest event in the Navy’s ongoing effort to develop autonomous capability.

U of Fla RoboBoat competition

The University of Florida's PropaGator navigates RobotBoat’s aquatic obstacle course.


The Navy’s efforts to promote development of autonomous watercraft took another step forward this month, as the Office of Naval Research staged its eighth annual RoboBoat Competition at Virginia Beach, Va.

Sixteen student teams from around the United States and as far away at East Asia put their autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) through a series of navigational tests, while being rated on their vessels’ design as well as factors such as speed, propulsion and navigation. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which also won the 2014 competition, took first place and the $7,000 prize that went with it.

“Autonomy is a major focus for the Navy today,” Kelly Cooper, a program officer in ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons, Ship Systems and Engineering Research Division, said in a news release. “The experiences received here provide students a crucial stepping stone in developing the skills needed to be successful in this important naval career field—these are the scientists and engineers that will undertake the fundamental research and development of our future autonomous naval systems.”

The Navy, and ONR specifically, has been working on adding autonomous capability to unmanned vehicles. Last August, ONR demonstrated its breakthrough CARACaS system can turn just about any boat into an autonomous and/or semi-autonomous vessel capable of working in teams to “swarm” an enemy. ONR has also applied the technology to small unmanned aerial vehicles.

But despite recent successes, autonomous technology still has a long way to go, and competitions such as RoboBoat are as much about developing the next generation of engineers as they are about the current state of the art.

“The successes and challenges students experience via the competition are good preparation for a future in engineering, hopefully for the Navy,” Cooper said. “From completing a run to making onsite adjustments, RoboBoat offers students a firsthand look at what real-life engineers go through when developing and testing Navy technologies for our sailors and Marines.”

ONR presented the student teams with a realistic maritime environment and had them pass through a set of gates, in the process demonstrating visual sensor and guidance integration, obstacle avoidance, automated docking and acoustic beacon positioning, along with their ability to launch and recover of an unmanned aerial vehicle from a moving boat, ONR said.

U of Central Florida ONR RoboBoat competition

The University of Central Florida's boat takes a test run.


Florida Atlantic University took second place, winning $4,000. The University of Michigan took third ($3,000) and the Daytona Beach Homeschoolers finished fourth ($2,500). Awards of $1,500 and $1,000 in special award categories also were awarded to the Electronic Engineering Polytechnic Institute of Surabaya in Indonesia, the University of Ulsan in South Korea and the University of Florida.

The RobotBoat Competition isn’t ONR’s only attempt to foster innovation through competition. Last fall, the office sponsored another international contest, the Maritime RobotX Challenge, held in Singapore, in which teams were given identical, 16-foot Wave Adaptive Modular Vehicles and challenged to adapt them to autonomous use.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.