The University of Southampton

Autonomous maritime squads trialled with integrated mission management

Published: 11 February 2020
Thales and Southampton are working to address the current limitations of autonomous vessels

Autonomous vessel mission capability is being increased by a new software package developed in a strategic partnership between the University of Southampton and Thales.

The Integrated Mission Management System (IMMS) project, which brings together experts from Engineering and Electronics & Computer Science, is addressing current limitations around autonomous vessels that require one human controller per vehicle.

IMMS scales up the potential for autonomous squads by providing a common interface that connects vessels and their payloads with a single human supervisor.

The joint team, led by the University's Dr Jon Downes and Thales' Ben Pritchard, successfully tested the software package this winter with a three-vessel trial at Thales' Maritime Autonomy Centre on the Plymouth waterfront.

The first year of the university-industry strategic research partnership was recently celebrated at an event on Boldrewood Innovation Campus.

Thales has also supported an Alan Turing Institute project, Flexible Autonomy for Swarm Robotics, led by Professor Sarvapali Ramchurn from the Agents, Interaction and Complexity Research Group.

Read the full story on the main news page.

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