Autonomous Maritime Navigation 1 and Autonomous Maritime Navigation 2 are put through their paces with human
observers aboard during Trident Warrior 2011 July 20 at Fort Monroe, Va. The Trident Warrior experiment, directed by
U.S. Fleet Forces Command, temporarily deploys advanced capabilities on ships to collect real-world data and feedback
during an underway experimentation period.
autonomous information systems and a 360-degree camera for automatic target tracking and identification.
“The vessels aren’t what’s important. It’s the AMN
brain and what eyes and ears — sensors — that the
operator wants to use on the vessel that’s important,”
Rick Simon, SIS director and program manager for
AMN, said in an e-mail response to questions.
As the technology matures, Conti said he has been
surprised by the “brain power” of the ships, how they
are able to communicate with one another and adjust
quickly to changing circumstances.
Last year, AMN technology was tested off the coast
of San Diego protecting ships that came into the port.
Next year, Conti said he would like to see AMN vessels
defending an aircraft carrier as it comes into port.
“There are a lot of places we could go with this
[technology],” Conti said.
Navy officials at the exercise said AMN technology
on vessels soon could enter the fleet, and noted that
data gathered during testing is being used by the
Navy’s Expeditionary Combat Command to support
The Joint Expeditionary Command and Control
Communications (JEC3) Tactical Operations Center
(TOC) is where the expeditionary common operating
picture (COP) is fused and displayed.
“The sensors that feed the COP are land-based coastal
radars, sonobuoys that listen underwater, unmanned
underwater vehicles, as well as the surface contacts from
the USVs [unmanned surface vehicles] and manned boats
at sea. The JEC3 fuses all of this sensor information/
contacts into an expeditionary COP. From the JEC3/TOC
perspective, the USVs are mobile at-sea sensors which
contribute to the COP,” Simon said.
AMN can be fully autonomous or operate by remote
control. This “sliding autonomy” capability allows a
command center to monitor multiple USVs simultaneously while letting them perform intelligence and surveillance operations or act as intruder interceptors
with no human intervention.
In the coming year, Conti said the technology is
mature enough that the Navy could use AMN vessels in
target training for Sailors. He also said this type of technology would be perfect for counterpiracy operations.