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!
A simple, yet versatile, new design for chaotic oscillating circuitry inspired by prime numbers
22.05.2019 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth
20.05.2019 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy