UST Logo.png

Crew Cuts

June/July 2018

Unmanned vessels are giving designers plenty of scope to replace personnel quarters with technological clout. Rory Jackson reports, the latest wave of USV designs and updates are set to bring a range of unconventional hull architectures to the many marine markets that are growing in their awareness of the benefits that unmanned systems can bring. 


Improving Unmanned Vehicle Collaboration

January/February 2018

An exciting opportunity now exists for the unmanned community to cooperate and develop not only better and more robust unmanned systems, but fully autonomous systems that can work together toward a common task.



download (1).jpg

WAM-V® Securing Our Ports and Coastal Cities

March 19, 2015   |   San Francisco Bay, CA


Just south of the Bay Bridge in the San Francisco Bay, dozens of container ships find anchorage while they wait their turn to be unloaded in the Port of Oakland. This is where Strategic Mobility 21 (SM 21), a San Diego based non-profit organization, hosted a Humanitarian Emergency Response Scenario at the Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) Joint Interoperability Field Experimentation (JIFX) 15-2.  SM 21 partnered with Marine Advanced Research to bring new and emergent technologies together for a full-scale, joint-operation exercise employing an array of unmanned autonomous aerial and surface vehicles and sensors. Dr Larry Mallon, President SM 21, summarized participation in the quarterly event: “From all indications and direct feedback from Defense and Homeland Security observers, the event was a smashing success highlighting the role of autonomous vehicles such as WAM-V in protecting our ports and coastal cities and responding to both natural and man-made disasters”.       

The WAM-V (Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel) provided enhanced maritime domain situational awareness in a simulated pandemic emergency. Marine Advanced Research equipped their 16’ WAM-V unmanned surface vessel (USV) with an InstantEye Mk2 Gen3 sUAS quadcopter aerial drone and a Promia video data link system. The video data link system provided a live video feed from the WAM-V back to the Command Center over four miles away. Once alongside the container ship, the aerial drone took off from the top deck of the WAM-V. This allowed the emergency responders to assess the situation onboard the container ship from a safe stand-off distance. In an actual emergency response situation, this capability would provide an emergency command post with the necessary information to plan a rapid response that would minimize exposure to front-line personnel. Added Mallon, “This first ever proof of concept integrating marine surface and aerial platforms and sensors represents the ‘wave of the future’ for port security in serving as environmental and operational data collectors with the ability to divert and respond to emergencies in the traditional manner of volunteer fire companies when called upon!”    

Joint Interagency Field Experiment Program (JIFX) 15-2


November 25, 2014   |   Singapore

Guest of honor Major General Ng Chee Khern welcomed dignitaries from South Korea, Australia, Japan and the United States at the launching ceremony for the inaugural Maritime RobotX Challenge. Afterwards, 15 student teams representing major universities in the United States, Singapore, Australia, Japan, and South Korea competed in Marina Bay Singapore for $100,000 in cash prizes.  MIT-Olin took the first place finish followed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), Queensland University of Technology, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, National University of Singapore and Osaka University. 

Teams scored points by completing a series of tasks to demonstrate navigation and control; obstacle detection and avoidance; docking and target identification; underwater search for an acoustic source; observation, identification and reporting of a specified target. All 15 teams were outfitted with Wave Adaptive Modular Vessels (WAM-V®) for the competition. The WAM-V platform, designed and manufactured by Marine Advanced Research, Inc. in Richmond, CA, is an ultra capable inflatable catamaran. “The selection of the WAM-V as the sole platform for this robotic competition confirms once again how these vessels are perfectly suited for unmanned operations,” says Ugo Conti, CTO of the company. “The elevated, stable central platform of the WAM-V is ideal for housing the hardware and the sensors necessary to navigate autonomously.” For more information about the Maritime RobotX Challenge please visit the website at: www.robotx.org.



October 13, 2014   |   Richmond, CA

Students from 15 major universities representing the United States, Singapore, Australia, Japan, and South Korea will compete October 20 - 26 in the AUVSI Foundation's Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore. The Office of Naval Research has equipped each team with an unpowered Wave Adapted Modular Vessel (WAM-V), along with grants to rig the vessels with customized battery-powered propulsion systems, sensors, computers, and software. The purpose of the challenge is to foster innovation as students develop their skills in autonomous command and control and systems engineering while collaborating with the engineers and organizations that develop the required sensors. Teams will battle for the $100,000 cash prize by completing a series of tasks to demonstrate navigation and control; obstacle detection and avoidance; docking and target identification; underwater search for an acoustic source; and observation, identification and reporting of a specified target.

The 16’ WAM-V USV platform, designed and manufactured by Marine Advanced Research, Inc. in Richmond, CA, is extremely well suited for autonomous operations. “The lightweight and highly maneuverable WAM-V is the ideal platform for this competition,” says Mark Gundersen, President and CEO of the company. “The modular construction allows the WAM-Vs to be easily customized, transported, and assembled.” These flexible catamarans lend themselves to a variety of applications beyond the competition. WAM-Vs, from 12’ to 100’, can be employed internationally for ocean sensor deployment and retrieval; port surveillance and security; MPA monitoring and enforcement; UUV deployment and retrieval; nodal communications; maritime domain awareness; maritime interdiction operations; and offshore oil and gas operations. Most recently, Marine Advanced Research partnered with Google to map the first comprehensive coast-view experience of the San Francisco waterfront.

 To keep updated on the Maritime RobotX Challenge, visit: www.robotx.org.

Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore