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Universal Sensor Application Programming Interface (API) for Undersea Data



OBJECTIVE: Develop a universal Sensor Things Application Programming Interface (API) that enables systems to utilize data from all current and future sensors without requiring new development. 

DESCRIPTION: Today’s undersea environment is experiencing a proliferation of sensors, such as high-end military towed arrays, commercial side-scan SONARs on unmanned vehicles, disposable sonobuoys, and commodity temperature sensors. This is similar to the proliferation of sensors comprising the Internet of Things. Examples are sensors in a basic smartphone Global Positioning System (GPS) and smart traffic control capabilities, which utilize data gathered from sensors displayed on a user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the user to visualize the data. The military sensors and Internet of Things sensors all have a basic common concept –sense something measured at some point in geospatial and temporal space and display. While sensors are proliferating, a lack of standardization requires that the Navy continually re-develop and re-implement software to handle new sensors. This technology addresses the need to streamline the incorporation of new and improved sensors into networked systems. These new sensors provide similar data, causing a recurring cost and effort to maintain the software. The focus of this effort is to determine the feasibility of newly formalized Sensor Things Application Programming Interface (API) standard by which such data can be provided for the AN/UYQ-100 Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS). In response to the rise of the Internet of Things, along with the growing need to provide a common API through which sensors can report measurements in time and space, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has recently published the Sensor Things API. No common standard by which different types of sensors can report their measurements existed prior to this standard. As such, inclusion of data from a new sensor into a system required additional software development; specific logic unique to that sensor; and associated cost and schedule implications. Development of the universal sensor API will allow for data from new sensors to be integrated into USW-DSS (and other systems) to address this challenge and enable the integration of new sensors without requiring new development. The Navy seeks an innovative implementation of a Universal Sensor Things API for the AN/UYQ-100 USW-DSS focused on the undersea domain and the heterogeneous types of data. Future sensors will likely acquire and report these data sets. The Navy will also require a process for generating or obtaining test data adequate to support testing. Design efforts include describing the proposed technology stack for use on the server-side. Initial efforts would be expected to quantify expected performance of the proposed API implementation in terms of anticipated data throughput for integration as well as similar expected performance for queries. Finally, a successful effort would provide a plan to utilize real sensors or sensor mockups to verify the performance of the API implementation. Implementation of the Sensor Things API offers standardization to a common API. This effort seeks a design for an innovative Universal Sensor Things API that utilizes best open source components and technologies to allow the implementation to scale from a laptop to a large computing cluster, demonstrating an ability to integrate data at various rates and diverse data payloads. This design should also consider how evolving security threats can be addressed by this universal API. Since the Navy requires a scalable implementation which could be integrated into multiple programs with different hardware footprints, a successful design would specifically allow for both vertical scalability (fewer servers, with more resources) and horizontal scalability (more servers, with less individual capability). A critical component of this effort is determining which existing open-source technologies to leverage (i.e., the “technology stack”) to develop a scalable, re-usable Sensor Things API. This should at minimum support the development of nominal anticipated performance characteristics of an analogous implementation, specifying parameters such as maximum number of data feeds and rate of data ingest. Refinement of the proposed analogous implementation will be provided to the awardee by the Government. 

PHASE I: Develop a concept for a Universal Sensor Things API for the AN/UYQ-100 USW-DSS in accordance with the Description of this topic. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept through modeling and simulation. Develop a Phase II plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a solution in Phase II. 

PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype Universal Sensor Things API based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW). Ensure that this prototype utilizes a design and implementation process that meets the parameters described in the Description. Include iterative development and testing of methods. Use ongoing benchmarking and analysis of implementation performance to meet the performance goals described in the Phase II SOW. 

PHASE III: Support the Navy in transitioning the Universal Sensor Things API into the AN/UYQ-100 USW-DSS platform using the Program Office software transition process. Finalize the technology by demonstrating the capability needs (listed in the Description) during a testing evaluation event to determine the effectiveness of the Universal Sensor API in the Navy’s sensor interface development environment. Support the Navy for test and validation in accordance with the peer review processes and test and evaluation required to support integration into the AN/UYQ-100 USW-DSS software baseline. This technology has significant potential for commercial application, including oil, mineral, and gas industries; fishing industries; and weather forecasting, which could all benefit substantially from additional data about measured ocean characteristics. 


1. Morgan, Jacob. “A Simple Explanation of ‘The Internet of Things.” Forbes Magazine. 13 May 2014.; 2. “AN/UYQ-100 Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS).” Official Navy Website. 24 January 2011.; 3. Liang, Steve. “OGC SensorThings API Part 1: Sensing”. Open Geospatial Consortium, 26 July 2016.; 4. Seffers, George. “NATO Studying Military IoT Applications.” Signal Magazine, 1 March 2017.

KEYWORDS: Open Geospatial Consortium; Standardization Of Sensors; Universal Interface; Open-source; Technology Stack; USW-DSS AN/UYQ-100 

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