The Navy issued a Request For Information (RFI) on Jan. 3 conducting market research on autonomous navigation technologies to support Navy ships and submarines.

The technology is called Bride Decision Aid. The Navy’s notice said the main features it desires include integration of bridge decision aid technology with existing bridge systems on surface ships, integration of installed Government Furnished Equipment shipboard sensors like navigation radars and electro-optical/infra-red systems into the technology, building user trust decision aid solutions, and using the Bridge Decision Aid as a digital twin to the navigation system to train autonomy artificial intelligence/machine learning during at-sea periods.

“U.S. Navy and commercial enterprises have a number of unmanned and autonomous surface vessel platforms in development and demonstration that use perception and autonomy systems to safely navigate COLREGS compliant autonomous surface vessels.  This RFI seeks both information on active autonomous navigation technologies that could be used as enablers to develop a human-in-the-loop safety of navigation bridge decision aid,” the notice said.

COLREGS refers to the international rules of sea transit, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

The RFI is seeking to understand how participants would use existing sensors installed on ships to contribute as components of the perception systems to support the autonomous navigation system then make COLREGS-compliant recommendations to bridge teams and watch standers.

“Particular emphasis should be placed on affordability and technical readiness of a shipboard application for acquisition in the FY25-FY27 timeframe,” the notice said.

Naval Sea systems Command invited all interested participants to respond by March 1 Proposed solutions should include the overall autonomy and bridge decision aid technology solutions, sensors supported by the solutions, projected or potential major cost drivers, identify relevant technology risk areas and any ongoing technology maturation initiatives underway, and anticipated development timeline to reach technology readiness level (TRL) 9 for near-term solutions and the research and development timelines to achieve TRL 6 for long-term options.

“For those interested parties that have technologies which may not achieve a [TRL] of 8-9 by FY2025, please provide information on current research and development efforts that may address some or all requirements of this RFI beyond FY2025.