Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NRL Tests Robotic Fueling of Unmanned Surface Vessels

21.03.2012
Engineers from the NRL Spacecraft Engineering Department (SED) successfully demonstrate the robotic fluids transfer from a stationary platform to an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) in wave heights greater than three feet.

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

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 85 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Daniel Parry | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nrl.navy.mil
http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2012/nrl-test-robotic-fueling-of-unmanned-surface-vessels

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Open, flexible assembly platform for optical systems
24.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>