How Gibbs & Cox Develops Innovative Marine Autonomy Solutions

April 28, 2021

G&C is a leading ship designer and integrator of autonomous systems for government and commercial clients. Our understanding of marine autonomy goes further than the implementation of navigation and control. Our experience developing autonomous vessels for our range of clients starts with a deep understanding of autonomy, the associated challenges, and our willingness to team with the best in the industry.

Developing the Future of Marine Autonomy

Marine Autonomy

Our initial implementation of marine autonomy dates back to 1955, when the U.S. Navy commenced the production of the project SEA LEGS. We developed 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 hydrofoil.

To this day, we remain on the cutting edge of technology and development of the Navy’s next generation of unmanned vessels. From concept to sustainment, we combine decades of naval architecture experience with the world’s most reliable marine engineering original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to deliver revolutionary technology to our clients.

Our dedication to advancing our unmanned and autonomous capabilities has led to us winning several notable awards, including:

Solving Complex Marine Autonomy Challenges

Marine autonomy often becomes more complex when an unmanned surface vessel (USV) is expected to perform more than a transit mission between points. Mission complexity is a key distinction between military and commercial applications. An autonomous vessel designed for military application is expected to perform self-navigation and control functions, but with the added requirements of performing complex mission evolutions in hostile environments. Gibbs & Cox is dedicated to solving these challenges for our clients and both investigating and advancing the exciting potential of marine autonomy.

Some of the technical challenges which Gibbs & Cox is proactively solving in the marine autonomy field are:

  • 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 USVs 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)

Give us a call to learn about how our expertise in marine autonomy can benefit you.

“[the] team received very strong endorsement at Design Review #2 placing us in an excellent position for [future phases of the project].   Based on the superb efforts of G&C, they are our trusted design agent for Detail Design and will perform a majority of the design work. … I have been involved in naval combatant ship design for 40 years and have never seen applause at a design review like we received at DR2.  Well Done!”