Successful AI Autonomy Testing for Navy Uncrewed Submarine

VIZGARD’s FortifAI was deployed on the Royal Navy’s eXtra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vessel (XLUUV) to successfully trial its autonomy-enabling capabilities By William Mackenzie / 01 Jan 2022
Successful AI Autonomy Testing for Navy Uncrewed Submarine
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VIZGARD has leveraged its autonomy-enabling AI engine, FortifAI, to completed sea trials on the Royal Navy’s uncrewed submarine.

FortifAI was deployed on the nine-meter-long eXtra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vessel (XLUUV), with performance remotely monitored from a nearby support boat. 

Using the submarine’s inertial navigation system, and a combination of periscope optics and an onboard RF receiver, FortifAI passively verified the identity and geographic location of ships during the voyage. 

The operation was run onboard in real-time using VIZGARD’s NVIDIA-based VizEdge device. This simultaneously logged submarine INS data, visual detections, mp4 videos and AIS tracks for post-mission analysis, allowing VIZGARD to improve and add new capabilities for the future.

The trial presented an opportunity to test FortifAI’s new ability to conduct semi-unsupervised self-training. The “Dataset Pruning” process is equivalent to a teammate having a first pass at checking the quality of detections before final human verification.

This significantly improved the speed and overall accuracy of the data preparation phase, especially when highlighting the presence of distant objects that a human operator may have overlooked.

In addition to improving the platforms’ real-time situational awareness, FortifAI compiled a list of the last known positions of so-called “dark vessels”, identified from satellite imagery captured moments before the voyage began.

The relative distance and bearing of the unknown vessels, along with ship length derived from the bird’s-eye view from space, were stored on the device and graphically indicated on the live video as augmented reality markers.

The contract for this venture was awarded by the Ministry of Defence, in order to trial innovative sensor technologies that increase platform safety and contribute to extending autonomous voyages to potentially thousands of nautical miles. 

The company add that it looks forward to expanding on its research in semi-unsupervised learning and advanced computer vision for maritime intelligence with a leading manufacturer of unmanned surface vehicles in 2022.

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact