Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology

Research Horizons

Georgia Tech's Research Horizons Magazine
Menu

Cruise Control

For vessels operating at sea, avoiding collisions is a basic operational requirement, so collision avoidance is part of operator training. When those vessels become highly autonomous, collision avoidance must be incorporated into complex autonomy algorithms and thoroughly tested before the vessels enter the water.

Girl in fromt of dispaly

GTRI Research Scientist Tara Madden developed the user interface for an assessment tool that systematically stimulates and tests the logic of fully autonomous systems while they are under development.

Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), led by Chief Scientist Lora Weiss, have created an assessment tool for systematically stimulating and testing the logic of fully autonomous systems while they are under development — before they reach the operational test and evaluation stage. Known as Autonomy Validation, Introspection, and Assessment (AVIA), the tool was developed with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to assess the autonomy logic of unmanned systems, and specifically for a technology-demonstration vessel developed in DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program.

AVIA stimulates the actual autonomy logic of the unmanned vessel and can run thousands of assessments faster than in real time and in parallel to study how an autonomous vessel would interact with a dozen or more other vessels. Its graphical user interface allows testers to generate thousands of test scenarios, assess the ability of a vessel to understand a given situation, and determine whether the vessel has responded appropriately. This allows for an extensive analysis of the full autonomy logic and enables detection of any undesirable behavior earlier in the development phase.

“It’s very rare to have a collision between two vessels on the open sea today, and we have to make sure that the performance of autonomous vessels equals or improves upon that of vessels operated by humans,” said Miles Thompson, a GTRI research engineer. “Using AVIA, we can stimulate the actual autonomy logic of the vessel for thousands of hours to find any issues before the system enters the water for the first time.”

Developed for surface and underwater vessels, AVIA could also be useful for evaluating highly autonomous systems designed to operate on the ground, in the air, or even in space. — John Toon

Subscribe to Research Horizons
Get the latest Georgia Tech research news through our free print magazine, monthly electronic newsletter, and Twitter feed.

 

Georgia Tech is home to more than 2,500 faculty members who conduct scientific and engineering research in hundreds of different research areas.

Related Stories

Read More
Read More
Exhibit A:

Coda: Nighttime

Media Contacts

John Toon

John Toon

Director of Research News
Phone: 404.894.6986
photo - Jason Maderer

Jason Maderer

National Media Relations
Phone: 404.385.2966
photo - Ben Brumfield

Ben Brumfield

Senior Science Writer
Phone: 404.385.1933
Josh Brown

Josh Brown

Senior Science Writer
Phone: 404-385-0500

Subscribe & Connect

Follow Us on Twitter:

@gtresearchnews

RSS Feeds

Subscribe to our RSS Feeds with your favorite reader.

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter.

Research Horizons Magazine

Sign up for a free subscription to Research Horizons magazine.