USV Environmental Efficiency

Lead Participant: Thales UK Limited


Currently available autonomous control systems and unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) navigate based upon shortest path or direct waypoint navigation techniques and do not explicitly take account of external environmental factors such as sea state, wave direction, current, tide & wind. This can lead to either inefficient vehicle operation or a narrow environmental operating envelope for the USV when compared to a manned vessel. When operating a manned vessel, a skilled coxswain will dynamically adjust the vessels heading and speed in order to compensate for the external environment.
The aim of this project is to develop a sensing package and a set of autonomous behaviours that can take account of external environmental influences when the USV is transiting to a known waypoint in adverse environmental conditions. Behaviours will be developed and tested within a simulation environment and once proven, integrated into USV along with the sensing package. The system will be characterised and compared with both the baseline Autonomy Management System and a skilled coxswain.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Thales UK Limited £304,460 £ 152,230


University of Southampton, United Kingdom £37,807 £ 37,807
Autonomous Surface Vehicles Limited, Portchester £125,435 £ 75,261
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom £78,566 £ 78,566


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