As part of MARTAC’s continuing effort to improve and advance the multi-craft autonomous mission performance of our MANTAS USV system, MARTAC has worked extensively with Spatial Integrated Systems, Inc. (SIS) and their SIS Autonomy System (SAS) to provide intelligent autonomous control to these extreme performance vessels. MARTAC engineers collaborated with SIS engineers to design the control interface between SAS and the MANTAS USVs. All of this work was done remotely, with the SIS team working out of their Virginia Beach, VA offices and our MANTAS team and vessels operating out of our MARTAC offices in Satellite Beach, FL.
Once the interface was designed and thoroughly tested in simulation, the team commenced to prove the on-water operations, with SAS operating from Virginia Beach with a remote IP connection to multiple MANTAS craft operating in Florida, a distance of over 650 miles. Following the launch and stationing of four MANTAS craft, by MARTAC, using local Mission Control Consoles, control of the four vessels was transferred to SAS, which then directed them to arrange themselves into a formation for transit to a series of waypoints. During the transit, SAS optimized the route of each MANTAS to achieve both relative formation positioning and the most efficient path to the waypoint.
There are multiple applications of this technology to the Port Security and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission sets, providing platforms that are constantly vigilant while keeping humans out of harm’s way. This type of cooperative autonomous control is completely new and revolutionary, and it allows teams of robots/drones to work together intelligently in the same manner as their human counterparts, allowing for task completion even when faced with varying environmental and physical challenges or barriers. Whether four vessels or forty, autonomous swarming is a powerful technology.
The above effort was self-funded as part of each company’s efforts to provide field proven technology to our customers.