Scientific Systems Company and MIT Sea Grant Demonstrate AI-enabled Software Suite Powering Decisions for Autonomous Boat Navigating the Charles River

2023-03-23 14:14:13 By : Ms. Nancy Yao

888-776-0942 from 8 AM - 10 PM ET

WOBURN, Mass. , Feb. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) and MIT Sea Grant demonstrate artificial intelligence (AI) for unmanned surface vehicles (USV) using the Navy's Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture (UMAA).

Scientific Systems Company and MIT Sea Grant co-create AI software to power a fully autonomous boat on the Charles River

Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) and MIT Sea Grant developed and demonstrated a first-of-kind integrated suite of software applications for unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) to virtualize the combined human shipboard functions of Lookouts, Sensor Operators, Quartermaster, Helmsman, and the Officer of the Deck. The software combined computer vision, waypoint navigation, obstacle avoidance, vehicle control, and mission management into a fully integrated and orchestrated autonomy stack. This capability was demonstrated on the Charles River in October 2022 using MIT's fully autonomous Boston Whaler.

This new capability is crucial for the Navy's Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture (UMAA); an initiative "to promote the development of common, modular, and scalable software for Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMVs)" and reduce costs for acquisition programs and accelerate the fielding of autonomous systems.

The software's hierarchical levels of control open an evolutionary path of implementing ever-increasing degrees of onboard intelligence for complex decision-making. During the demonstration, the autonomous Boston Whaler safely navigated the busy Charles River while piloting around another vessel using COLREG maneuvers—International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea—to avoid a collision.

MIT provided open-source Maneuver Operations software through MOOS-IvP (Mission Oriented Operating Suite - Interval Programming), performing local waypoint navigation, obstacle avoidance (COLREGs), and vehicle control. The AUV Lab at MIT Sea Grant provided the Boston Whaler.

SSCI provided the Mission Management software, which performed high-level reasoning, route planning, and executive oversight similar to human operator functions. SSCI also provided Perception and Situational Awareness software, which allowed the autonomous Boston Whaler to sense its surroundings with fused onboard sensors, including an electro-optical camera, LIDAR, and RADAR.

SSCI and MIT Sea Grant quickly connected their autonomy software by packaging them in UMAA-compliant modules, allowing them to "speak the same language" without having to refactor the code to meet UMAA requirements. SSCI leveraged its UPSHOT software (UMAA's Process SHOrtcutting Tool) to rapidly integrate the various components and make them UMAA-ready. UPSHOT greatly facilitated system development, integration, and testing, allowing the team to field the capability quickly.   

About Scientific Systems Company, Inc.

Founded in 1990 and based in Woburn, MA , Scientific Systems Company Inc. (SSCI) invents disruptive technologies and develops revolutionary solutions for challenging missions. SSCI focuses on creating AI/ML enabled capabilities to command, control, communicate with, and manage composable collections of intelligent agents, smart sensors, and autonomous platforms across all domains. Learn more at

SOURCE Scientific Systems Company Inc.

More news releases in similar topics

Cision Distribution 888-776-0942 from 8 AM - 9 PM ET