Unmanned/Autonomous Vehicles

MAPC—20 Years of Unmanned Surface Vessel Work Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (MAPC) has a 32-year history of designing and building advanced technology systems for both commercial and government sponsors. What began as an engineering services company in the 1980s has evolved into a research, engineering, and manufacturing company that conceives and builds technology-rich systems. MAPC has specific experience with the design of electronic systems for advanced vehicles including ground robots, hydrofoils, passenger vessel motion reduction systems, rudder and autopilot systems, watercraft launch and recovery systems, shipboard machinery systems, and unmanned aircraft launch and recovery systems. Following are some samples of MAPC’s unmanned systems. A 20-Year History with Keel-up Unmanned Surface Vessel Design and Build Programs  MAPC developed its first unmanned marine vessel in 1996 under DARPA funding.  The unmanned control was applied to one of the U.S. Naval Academy’s 44-foot sailing vessels.  Under this effort, MAPC developed software in a GIS environment to issue heading commands to the sailing vessel as a function of wind measurements, the actions of a competing vessel, and the position of the vessel relative to an upwind mark. While the actuation of the helm and lines was done by a manned crew, the commands that controlled these actions were provided by a laptop computer. The result startled experienced sailors as the computer was able to more rapidly sense wind shifts and calculate lay lines. In this early experiment, the computerized vessel routinely beat the competing boat. A number of unmanned ground vehicle projects followed before MAPC returned to the marine environment in 2001. Between 2001 and 2005, MAPC built two USSVs under an ONR program. The high-tow-force vessel was designed by Navy partners while the hydrofoil vessel was designed by MAPC. The 3-year program produced two boats, command and control systems, launch and recovery elements, at-sea testing, and mission system integration work. This program featured extensive mechanical engineering design, naval architecture, power management, and software development work for unmanned operation, C4ISR, mission system integration, and vehicle flight control. Both boats have been outfitted by the Navy for autonomous operation and served as test platforms for various Navy projects. Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) Based on the lessons learned in the USSV program, MAPC designed the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV). Two of these vessels were subsequently built for a commercial sponsor between 2007 and 2012.  Rights to the CUSV design were then sold and a variant of this vessel was later selected as the Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) craft.