DIGITAL ENGINEERING - 3D Operator Decision Aides for Ship Control Systems

Navy SBIR 22.1 - Topic N221-032
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Opens: January 12, 2022 - Closes: February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est)

N221-032 TITLE: DIGITAL ENGINEERING - 3D Operator Decision Aides for Ship Control Systems

OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop an automated operator decision aide capability for ship control systems that improves situational understanding through the use of a single 3D visualization system to reduce cognitive burden; enable and provide an aggregate viewpoint of system and platform health; and enable data-driven decision making.

DESCRIPTION: As the Navy continues to reduce manpower requirements associated with operating ever-increasing technologically complex systems, new methods that enable natural and intuitive 3D interaction with ship control systemsí data are desired to aid in reducing the overall operator burden and enhance watch stander situational awareness. Developing an optimized capability to engage and process a shipís information from multiple systems in a high-stress environment will allow the operators to increase task accuracy, reduce response time, and increase overall situational awareness.

This SBIR topic seeks an automated operator decision aide capability for ship control system logic that improves bridge watch stander situational understanding through the integration of data from multiple ship systems and use of 3D visualization techniques. New approaches are needed to reduce operator burden through the application of enhanced visualization methods and dynamic real-time, temporally accurate visualizations of ship systems. By presenting complex data in a user-friendly, yet informative, manner, the cognitive load on the operator can be decreased and the ability to make data-driven decisions based on complicated information is improved. Approaches are encouraged to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) as practicable.

Automated operator decision aides will convert various ship systemsí data and sensor outputs into a human-readable and intuitive User Experience (UX) to provide an aggregate viewpoint of the overall ship system and platform health. This will enable operators to visualize the mission impact of ship control system status (e.g., up/down, failure mode, performance). The automated operator decision aides should categorize and prioritize information display with the goal of compiling, automating, and reducing burdens on the decision makers to assist them in understanding a component failureís influence on the overall mission effectiveness of the system. The automated operator decision aides will also display the integrated logic functions associated with the systemsí permissive and alarms and inform operators of these failures to enable a data driven decision making process and allow for immediate corrective actions.

The automated operator decision aide system must be capable of collecting all ship control systemsí data and must include an interface to support data export. This will enable data analysis by the Program Office, In-Service Engineering Agents (ISEAs), and subject matter experts. The data can be used to track failures, help find mitigation plans to avoid future failures, and inform maintenance and logistical requirements. Proposers should develop a solution that is Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA)-compliant to allow for cross-platform compatibility and future capability improvements. Because of the unique and specific nature of the multiple FFG 62 subsystems, of which data will be collected, no commercial solutions to allow for subsystem data integration and/or data exportation currently exist. Testing will be iterative throughout the phases in order to test accurate data consolidation, user experience, and secure cyber footprint. Specifically, this solution must have the ability to achieve Navy accreditation and certification in order to be installed on an operational vessel in accordance with the latest guidance including, but not limited to, Authorization to Operate and Risk Management Framework policies.

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DCSA and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract.

All DoD Information Systems (IS) and Platform Information Technology (PIT) systems will be categorized in accordance with Committee on National Security Systems Instruction (CNSSI) 1253, implemented using a corresponding set of security controls from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-53, and evaluated using assessment procedures from NIST SP 800-53A and DoD-specific (KS) at (Information Assurance Technical Authority (IATA) Standards and Tools at

The Contractor shall support the Assessment and Authorization (A&A) of the system. The Contractor shall support the governmentís efforts to obtain an Authorization to Operate (ATO) in accordance with DoDI 8500.01 Cybersecurity, DoDI 8510.01 Risk Management Framework (RMF) for DoD Information Technology (IT), NIST SP 800-53, NAVSEA 9400.2-M (October 2016), and business rules set by the NAVSEA Echelon II and the Functional Authorizing Official (FAO). The Contractor shall design the tool to their proposed RMF Security Controls necessary to obtain A&A. The Contractor shall provide technical support and design material for RMF assessment and authorization in accordance with NAVSEA Instruction 9400.2-M by delivering OQE and documentation to support assessment and authorization package development.

Contractor Information Systems Security Requirements. The Contractor shall implement the security requirements set forth in the clause entitled DFARS 252.204-7012, "Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting," and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for an automated operator decision aide that integrates data from multiple ship systems with a 3D visualization and export capability. The concept must show that it can feasibly meet the requirements of the Description. Establish feasibility through modeling and simulation of the concept.

The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Fabricate a comprehensive automated decision aide prototype that is capable of demonstrating the implementation and integration into the ship system environment for testing and evaluation. Demonstrate accuracy, repeatability, and functionality, adhering to the requirements outlined in the Description. Perform a system demonstration in a simulated environment.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use and support further refinement and testing of the automated operator decision aideís functionality following successful prototype development and demonstration. Testing will be accomplished by real-time demonstration of the developed capability with operational users in order to gauge successful metrics for accuracy, readability, and implementation of data feeds into a singular user interface. Upon capability demonstration and quantifiable test results, direct the focus toward the transition and integration of the technology into Bridge and Machinery Control Systems.

This solution has applicability across the Navy on other platforms with complex/automated ship control systems such as Unmanned Vehicles (UxVs) and could help to increase both mission effectiveness and readiness. This capability can be applied to commercial applications with diverse and complex human-in-the-loop interfaces, including aviation and commercial maritime operations.


  1. Scherer, Timothy and Cohen, Jeffrey. "The Evolution of Machinery Control Systems Support at the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station". Naval Engineers Journal. 18 May 2011. Volume 2: 85-109.
  2. Wright, R. Glenn. "Virtual Aids to Navigation". World Maritime University. 2017.
  3. Balogh, P., Kovacs, P. T., and Barsi, A. "Holovizio 3D Display System." 2007 3DTV Conference. 07-09 May 2007. DOI: 4379386

KEYWORDS: Ship control system; virtual environment; 3D visualization; interactive shipboard; system logic functions; virtual watchstander.


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its 22.1 SBIR BAA pre-release on December 1, 2021, which opens to receive proposals on January 12, 2022, and closes February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est).

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