Patuxent River, MD — Workers at Patuxent River Naval Air Station for the past two weeks have been given a chance to get a peek into the future. Over that time the U.S. Navy’s emerging autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) demonstration has been held at the base. The event was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

During the week 150 participants, 26 technology teams and unmanned systems were brought together to explore new technologies in common at-sea environments along Maryland’s shoreline.

“Through the display of various emerging AUV-related technologies, the objective of the demonstration is to increase effectiveness in mine-hunting exercises, ordnance surveys, maritime archeology and infrastructure inspection, such as bridges, shoreline or sea walls,” said Robert Gibson, PAX River 2015 project manager.

Since 1997, ONR has hosted eight AUV Fests and Science and Technology Demonstrations (S&T Demos) in Panama City, FL. This is the first UAV demonstration hosted by ONR to be held at PAX River.

According to Gibson, military and commercial sectors are drastically increasing investments in unmanned systems, autonomy, automation and systems-of-system solutions. Those approaches require earlier and more frequent interactions between the user and developer communities and this event will facilitate interactions by actually focusing on the system in their intended environments.

“During the two-week demonstration, operators, developers and stakeholders will have the opportunity to demonstrate capabilities, collect data and gain knowledge for operational gains,” he said. “This event will bring the unmanned users and developers together in intended environments to learn from each other and further our AUV capabilities.”

An additional benefit expected from this event is the completion of a Technology Transition Agreement that will allow the government, academia, and industry that will allow and enable the data collection and sharing with the intent to further develop future naval capabilities.

“AUV systems from ONR’s mine countermeasure (MCM) Future Naval Capability Program will demonstrate exit criteria from their technology transition agreements,” said Gibson. “The U.S. and international partners will conduct joint experimentation to investigate interoperability, usability, and enhance joint development efforts for the benefit of these emerging capabilities.”

As a closing ceremony, a Media and Stem Day was held at River’s Edge with opening remarks by NAS Commanding Officer Capt. Heidi Fleming. One-hundred and fifty STEM Academy students from St. Mary’s County Public Schools were also invited.

Attendees were then bused to the Advanced Maritime Technology Center for technology tours.

The attached Photo Gallery is by The BayNet Photojournalist Ron Bailey.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com