Station-Keeping Gateway Communications Buoy 'Gatekeeper'

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00039-07-C-0003
Agency Tracking Number: N051-077-1148
Amount: $584,503.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: N05-077
Solicitation Number: 2005.1
Small Business Information
1510 Springport Rd Suite C, Jackson, MI, 49202
DUNS: 005055582
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 David Sparks
 Pr. Engineer
 (517) 784-8340
Business Contact
 David Sparks
Title: President
Phone: (517) 784-8340
Research Institution
SeaLandAire recognizes the importance of deploying a gateway buoy for long term communications relay in areas where mooring is not desirable. Such a system must overcome the dual difficulties of station keeping and energy harvesting to successfully achieve military utility. This system must also be tactically viable in that it must be deployable from a variety of platforms. Extended system life introduces the problem of buoy drift and necessitates an autonomous, mobile system to station keep, which requires significantly more power than can be stored in the buoy. To supplement the stored power, our system extracts energy from the surrounding environment. Global variations between deployment environments, combined with the extended mission life, require our system to efficiently harvest or harness energy from as many sources as possible. Phase I demonstrated that our concept has the potential of meeting all technical objectives. Our concept will harvest energy from solar radiation and vertical wave motion and will harness energy from both the vertical and horizontal components of wave motion. A navigational and power management system, coordinated by an innovative Learning Adaptive Control algorithm, enables our system to efficiently use the harvested and harnessed energy to station keep against the local drift-causing forces. BENEFITS: The technologies being investigated in this SBIR program are significant in that they are marketable on two levels. On the system level, the station keeping, energy scavenging, and gatekeeper communication functions are all applicable to many applications. The technology is also marketable on the product level as well. Both the thruster and actuator technologies are key to the successful proliferation of ASV and AUV’s. We are at the beginning of transforming existing technology to meet the needs of all the potential customers that use ASV’s and AUV’s. We are at the leading edge of what could be a significant market. Potential customers for the systems being developed are the PMA-264 ASW group, SPAWAR, NAVAIR, the department of homeland security, NOAA and others. Customers for the products include anyone that uses AUV’s or ASV’s. Either would benefit from our innovative and efficient thrusters, actuators, marine solar panels, and other energy harvesting technology. Over the next few years we will create product data sheets and distribute the data at all the conventions and workshops we attend every year. As we gain insight into the full market potential we will develop plans for production based on projected build quantities.

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

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