Autonomous Naval Mine Countermeasures: NATO’s perspective
As the focus on using autonomous systems for mine-hunting operations in nations increases, there is a strong requirement from NATO to understand how combinations of heterogeneous systems of vehicles, sensors and on-board capability will impact on the overall mission effectiveness of a system-of-systems for multi-phased mine countermeasures (MCM) and how systems from different nations will come together to perform a common mission. The Autonomous Naval Mine Countermeasure (ANMCM) programme of work at the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), funded by the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), will increase the integration of the robotic platforms within an MCM operational context with the development of autonomy algorithms, through-the-sensor perception and the use of doctrinally relevant metrics, allowing for results to be incorporated with existing tactics. This lecture will present some of the advances in research regarding autonomy and vehicle perception sustained with real-world results of experimental demonstrations of vehicles, algorithms and systems-of-systems spanning from 2013 to 2016 and highlight some of the issues in bringing multiple systems together.
In particular, we will describe:
1. Single vehicle adaptive behaviours and on-board processing,
2. an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) and unmanned surface vehicle (USV) collaboration for mine disposal,
3. a UUV-to-UUV partnership with our partners University of Girona for detection, classification and localisation to identification,
4. the development and use of a smart gateway buoy as a central translator for interoperability,
5. and the initial testing of a collaborative autonomy framework between the CMRE MUSCLE vehicle and Italian Navy REMUS vehicles.