Standoff Command and Control of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
AREA(S): Ground/Sea Vehicles
PROGRAM: NAVSEA 06/PMS-408 (Expeditionary Missions) Low Observable
Develop platform independent data and power transfer material solutions for
enabling command and control of inspection class Remotely Operated Vehicles
(ROVs) for real-time, human-supervised response operations from safe separation
The ocean environment is one of the most diverse and challenging environment
for moving power and data in sufficient capacity (i.e., bandwidth, range,
reliability) when human-supervised command and control of inspection class ROVs
is required for countering underwater explosive threat objects. Current ROV
systems are equipped with physical data and/or power tethers, which due to
tether drag and thrust limitations [Ref 1] most notably in higher sea states
and water depths over 100 feet of seawater (FSW), overcome the ability of small
inspection class ROVs to maneuver to and/or maintain their station relative to
targets being investigated. Novel approaches to extend the surface lateral
standoff range of ROVs from topside operators beyond that of the physical
tether are required with little to no latency for display of streaming video,
and sonar and sensor data from the ROV to the operators on the console
providing human-supervision, and, when needed, an ability to override autonomy.
Navy Expeditionary forces have a requirement to operate inspection class ROV
systems and payloads (e.g., manipulators, diagnostic sensors), at extended
standoff distances against targets on the surface down to 1,000 FSW while
maintaining human-supervision and, when necessary, taking manual control of
ROVs operating in close proximity to underwater explosive threat objects.
Minimal latency, standoff command and control solutions are needed that provide
a physical separation between the ROV operator and the ROV at: (1) a threshold
surface lateral safe separation distance of at least 3,000 yards and an
objective distance of 5,000 yards; (2) a threshold surface lateral safe
separation distance of at least 5 nautical miles and an objective distance of
25 nautical miles. Recognizing the current state of technology may preclude
zero-latency for teleoperation of ROVs, sufficient technical approaches that
pursue low latency solutions to maintain viable human-in-the-loop teleoperation
of ROVs will be of interest in evaluating proposed solutions.
Tether drag and tether management remain a challenge during operation of ROV
systems for response to underwater threats, particularly as ROVs are operated
in deeper water and at extended separation distances from topside ROV
operators. The Navy has particular interest in technologies that offer a
short-range, zero latency material solution for command and control of
inspection class ROV with a minimum surface lateral separation of 3,000 yards.
This capability is required to enable human-supervised and/or human-controlled
precision task execution with the ROV to investigate and/or neutralize
underwater threat objects poised in the water column from the surface down to
1,000 FSW. Secondarily, the Navy is interested in a low latency field
configurable “add-on” capability to the short-range solution, for increasing lateral
standoff to a range of between 5 and 25 nautical miles. Short-range and
long-range solutions of interest must be designed as stand-alone (i.e.,
platform independent) subsystems capable of integrating with the Teledyne
SeaBotix vLBV300, and eventually in Phase II, if awarded, with the Next
Generation Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Underwater Response Vehicle for
testing. The complete solution would be deployed from any craft of opportunity
without requiring EOD personnel or craft to manually emplace it for use. Any
solution that proposes a physical tether must include an automated tether
management system to manage scope length. Proposed solutions must address how
DoD cyber security requirements (as defined in DOI 8500.01) will be addressed,
and in the case of any wireless components of data transfer, how DoD frequency
spectrum requirements will be addressed.
I: Develop a concept for a fully integrated self-deploying subsystem with
autonomous tether management capable of meeting the requirements in the
Description. Following the requirements analysis, develop a conceptual design
for the short-range subsystem and perform a proof of concept demonstration or
relevant bench-top and/or simulation to enable the Navy to ascertain the
feasibility of the military utility and supportability of a proposed prototype
development effort. The Navy desires an analysis articulating a proposed
approach for eventual extension to a long-range solution. Develop a Phase II
plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design
specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in
II: Develop and deliver a prototype system and validate it with respect to the
objectives. Develop, design, and fabricate an initial demonstration prototype
of a short-range subsystem for integration with the Teledyne SeaBotix vLBV300
and the Next Generation EOD Underwater Response Vehicle. The Phase II effort
should also include refinement of the analysis and the modifications necessary
to develop a long-range capability.
III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to
Navy use. Fabricate and deliver a short-range system with all necessary
interfaces for operation with the Teledyne SeaBotix vLBV300 and the Next
Generation EOD Underwater Response Vehicle.
Commercial applications include for other ROV users, such as DoD Unexploded
Ordnance (UXO) remediation teams; Department of Homeland Security activities
providing port security functions; underwater repair and construction teams;
and law enforcement agencies performing underwater post incident forensics
Crist, Robert D., and Wernli, Sr., Robert L. “The ROV Manual: A User Guide for
Remotely Operated Vehicles, Second Ed”. Waltham: Butterworth Heinemann, 2014. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289731799_The_ROV_Manual_A_User_Guide_for_Remotely_Operated_Vehicles_Second_Edition
Domingues, Christophe, Essabbah, Mouna, Cheaib, Nader, Otmane, Samir, and
Dinis, Alain. “Human-Robot-Interfaces based on Mixed Reality for Underwater
Robot Teleoperation.” IFAC Proceedings, Volume 45, Issue 27, 2012, pp. 212-215.
DoD Instruction Department of Defense Instruction 8500.01, “Cybersecurity”, 14
March, 2014. https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/i8500_01.pdf
Remotely Operated Vehicles; ROV; Standoff Command and Control of ROVs;
Explosive Ordnance Disposal; Low Latency Human-supervised Controls; Naval
Mines; Teledyne SeaBotix vLBV300
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