The Navy’s chief of naval research led a panel discussion highlighting technology challenges and a vision for future maritime robotic systems Aug. 8, at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual conference.
Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, the Office of Naval Research’s 24th chief, spoke about the Navy’s increasing reliance on maritime robotic systems to conduct a wide variety of missions, from oceanographic research to helping sailors track down potential threats in waters around the globe.
“Our vision is to ensure successful integration between unmanned systems and the warfighter,” Klunder said. “I believe this approach of developing a hybrid naval force of manned and unmanned systems is part of our innovative future.”
He moderated a panel of experts who represent organizations that employ unmanned maritime systems. Topics included technology shortfalls, program efforts and current operations.
Panelists included the Navy’s program manager of unmanned maritime systems, Capt. Duane Ashton; the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s deputy assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research, retired Navy Capt. Craig McLean; Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s chief technologist, Dr. James Bellingham; and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s senior scientist in applied ocean physics and engineering, Dr. Dana Yoerger.
ONR’s participation in AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America 2012, held in Las Vegas, Nev., included exhibits and presentations highlighting research efforts in autonomy for robotic watercraft and ground robots, onboard planning systems for unmanned aircraft and control technologies for multiple autonomous systems.
ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.