The Rapid Autonomous Fuel Transfer (RAFT) project exhibits the ability to track the motion of a Sea Fox naval vessel, safely emplace a magnetic refueling fitting to an on-board refueling receptacle and successfully complete fluids transfer.
Under current circumstance, USV refueling demands that a grappled connection, usually by hand, be made between the USV and the refueling vessel.
"Refueling a USV at sea, particularly in adverse weather or in high sea states, can prove difficult and often dangerous," said Dr. Glen Henshaw, Attitude Control Section, SED Control Systems Branch. "Transferring our extensive knowledge and proven success of robotic spacecraft servicing can prove equally successful in reducing risks at sea."
Providing the host ship the capability to refuel USVs without the need to bring them aboard ship enhances mission efficiency and reduces host ship exposure. This works to improve the effectiveness of naval USV missions and decrease risks to personnel and potential damage to vessels and equipment.
Experimenting with both fully autonomous and human-controlled operations at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center wave simulator facility, NRL engineers completed approximately 60 trial refueling attempts at sea states ranging from zero, or calm seas, to 3.25, or maximum wave heights in excess of three feet, with a demonstrated high rate of success.
Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Rapid Autonomous Fuel Transfer (RAFT) project teamed NRL with Clemson University, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). NRL was the lead robotics integrator and designed the robotics system.
Further robotic transfer tests will possibly include land-based autonomous HMMV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) applications without the need to stop driving and on-air Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) refueling.
The USV Sea Fox was developed for Navy missions to provide force protection with more flexibility in Enhanced Maritime Interdiction Operations and safer Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) gathering to aid in threat assessment, decision-making, and situational awareness, prior to escalation to lethal actions.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Spacecraft Engineering Department (SED) serves as the focal point for the Navy's in-house spacecraft bus capability. Research and development activities range from concept and feasibility studies through initial on orbit space systems operation. SED's Robotics Engineering and Control Laboratory serves as a national test bed to support research in the emerging field of space robotics including autonomous rendezvous and capture, remote assembly operations, and machine learning.About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Daniel Parry | EurekAlert!
Energy hybrid: Battery meets super capacitor
01.12.2016 | Technische Universität Graz
Tailor-Made Membranes for the Environment
30.11.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy