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Perception Autonomy for Vessel Escorts (PAVE)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-22-C-0575
Agency Tracking Number: N221-034-0026
Amount: $146,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N221-034
Solicitation Number: 22.1
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-07-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-01-30
Small Business Information
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138-4555
United States
DUNS: 115243701
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ross Eaton
 (617) 491-3474
Business Contact
 Mark Felix
Phone: (617) 491-3474
Research Institution

Ship traffic in harbors is increasing, and asymmetric threats from small craft are also proliferating as adversaries seek methods to inflict costly damage on US assets with minimal resources. Escort details provide port and harbor security to combat these threats, but these details have significant crew requirements. Automating the escort mission with uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) would reduce risk and personnel requirements; however, the Navy’s autonomy and perception efforts have largely focused on open ocean scenarios, whereas in harbors, detection ranges are shorter, backgrounds are cluttered, and obstacles are more numerous. To address the perception challenges associated with in-harbor operations, we propose Perception Autonomy for Vessel Escorts (PAVE). PAVE is an extensible perception software system for USVs that detects, localizes, and tracks nearby vessels to enable interdiction maneuvers if necessary. PAVE perception processes electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) imagery to effectively detect, classify, localize, and track surface contacts, day or night, in cluttered backgrounds. We will develop enhanced monocular depth estimation for improved target localization, automatic threat assessment for asset prioritization, intelligent perception optimization to enhance system confidence and accuracy, and extensions to our existing C2 user interface for situation awareness and multi-vehicle coordination to facilitate escort missions.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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