Utilizing Autonomy to

Achieve Innovative Solutions

G&C is a leader in integrating the needs of government and commercial clients to develop and test seagoing autonomous systems. An unmanned system’s (UMS) autonomy is defined by its ability to independently sense, perceive, analyze, communicate, plan, make decisions and act to achieve goals assigned by its human operator(s). Autonomy is characterized into levels using factors like mission complexity, environmental difficulty, and level of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), which are required to accomplish missions.

Leaders in Unmanned Ship and Autonomous Vessel Innovation

Gibbs & Cox’s tradition of innovation in marine and naval ship design continues today as a leader in unmanned and autonomous vessel development. Our initial work implementing advanced electronic control systems dates back to the 1955 production of SEA LEGS for the U.S. Navy. We devised an automated system that actively controlled two submerged hydrofoils in order to influence the pitch and roll attitude of the vessel in flight. This first application of actively controlled foils provided ride quality and safety that was superior to other vessels with fixed hydrofoils.

Electronic control systems and automation have come a long way since then, and we at Gibbs & Cox understand that marine vessel autonomy is much more than safe navigation and control. Our experience in developing unmanned and autonomous vessels for various clients begins with our understanding of autonomy and the challenges that come with it, and our willingness to team with the best in industry.

Best of All Worlds: Partner with Gibbs & Cox

As an independent business, Gibbs is an ideal partner for other small, independent teams trying to get capability to the warfighter with the absolute minimum in overhead or hassle.

Our unmanned test platforms have thousands of miles of water under the keel—operating over-the-horizon and on long transits. We will get your technology out of the lab and onto the ocean.

  • We know boats: A Gibbs & Cox Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) shows up on time, every time. You’ll get the sea time you need and we’ll help you localize your solution for the harsh realities of the maritime domain.
  • From UMAA to plug-and-play: The Gibbs & Cox Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) approach elaborates on Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture (UMAA) to provide the interface specifications you need to confidently code, deploy, and win.
  • We know the Navy: From WWII to building the Navy of tomorrow, Gibbs & Cox has been there every step of the way. Join our team and help make the next 90 years of history!

Applying Marine Autonomy to Complex Situations

If a USV or UUV is expected to perform more than a transit mission between points, autonomy becomes a much more complex problem. This is where commercial applications of remote control and vessel autonomy differ from military applications.

An autonomous military vessel is expected to perform self-navigation and control functions, but with the added requirement of performing complex mission evolutions in hostile environments.

Gibbs & Cox is dedicated to solving these challenges and both investigating and advancing the exciting potential of unmanned marine vessels.

Technical challenges in advancing USV technology include:

  • Maneuverability (particularly for large vehicles)
  • Endurance (range and persistence)
  • Reliability (redundancy, self-maintenance and self-repair of systems and equipment)
  • Communications (high speed, reliable and secure)
  • Cooperative employment of multiple USV working together autonomously

Ethical and legal challenges in advancing USV technology include:

  • Safety of the USV and the vessels or objects it encounters
  • Security of the USV (physical and cyber)
  • Autonomous employment of weapon systems (offensive and defensive)

How do we best take advantage of the opportunities Autonomy provides in the area of vessel design?

  • Much of what we do in designing a manned vessel is in support of the humans on-board. When we remove this constraint, the design trade space expands dramatically.
  • Removing the weight and volume of human support elements such as crew living spaces (berthing, galleys, offices, etc.) and environmental systems (HVAC, sanitary, potable water, etc.) allows for an increase in vessel useful load capacity.
  • Removing human constraints from the platform changes the acceptable motions and accelerations, allowing for new, unique hull form designs that are optimized for specific missions.

Hull, Mechanical & Electrical (HM&E) Autonomy

The success of long-term UMS deployments depends on its ability to monitor, predict, and diagnose performance degradations and failures in an HM&E system of systems, and then reconfigure systems for optimal use of available resources to satisfy ongoing mission requirements.

At Gibbs & Cox, we are collaborating with industry and R&D leaders in HM&E system design, reliability, and Artificial Intelligence to develop and field Unmanned Maritime Vehicles that will operate for long durations without human intervention. Our vision includes future integration with a broader Condition-Based Maintenance Plus (CBM+) paradigm, which will provide for just-in-time system maintenance during port visits.

Key features of the HM&E Autonomy System are:

  • Robust HM&E system with redundant elements and interconnectivities
  • MOSA (Modular Open Systems Architecture) software implementation including reusable interfaces to both higher level autonomy elements and HM&E components
  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)-based machinery automation
  • Embedded sensors
  • Smart actuators (e.g. motorized valves)
  • Four-part Intelligent Fault Management System
  • Prognosis
  • Diagnosis
  • Active learning
  • Reconfiguration

Cutting-Edge Unmanned and Autonomous Vessel Design & Integration

From concept to sustainment, a Gibbs & Cox team combines cutting-edge naval architecture with the world’s most reliable marine engineering original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). At G&C, we partner with innovative, cross-domain Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution providers and reputable shipyards to deliver the best value for our customers.

Our customers benefit from our:

  • 90 years of successful military, commercial and recreational ship designs.
  • Escape AI vendor lock with our Plug-and-Play, UMAA ecosystem.
  • Proven integration with 3rd party engineering, maneuver, perception, mission and payload AIs.
  • CYBERSAFE system boundaries and hardened Information Technology and Operational Technology (IT/OT).

Image Credit: L3 Harris

Gibbs & Cox is about Customer Alignment

We develop, integrate, and test on a modern CI/CD pipeline supported by sophisticated maritime Modeling & Simulation tools to quickly transform uncertainty to knowledge—value delivered for our clients from first increment to last.

  • Set-based design: We assume variability and preserve flexibility across a range of options.
  • Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE); Dynamic models of the USV SISoS enable rapid concept refinement and accelerate code generation and testing in our CI/CD pipeline.
  • Full-Spectrum, Integrated T&E: Our approach starts with models, continues with Hardware-in-the-Loop (HWIL) component tests, Modeling & Simulation (M&S) regression tests of the complete USV system-of-systems against operational scenarios and culminates in at-sea testing.

Interested in learning more about autonomy?

Contact us
It has been a pleasure working with Gibbs and Cox. They were consistently responsive to our changing needs with this difficult project. Updates were frequent and accurate. I look forward to continuing to utilize Gibbs and Cox to assist us in future programs.