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Launch of MAXCMAS project

Researchers from Queen’s will be undertaking a joint 26 months, £1.27m Innovate UK project with academic and industrial partners including Rolls Royce, Atlas Electronik UK, Lloyd’s Register and Southampton Solent University. The Robust MAchine eXecutable Colregs for Marine Autonomous Systems, or MAXCMAS, project will investigate, develop and implement real-time collision avoidance algorithms for autonomous maritime vessels. EPIC's Dr Wasif Naeem is the lead investigator from QUB and will be directly involved in developing and simulating Colregs-compliant path planning algorithms.

Description of the project

Compliance with current and future regulations is instrumental to the wide-scale exploitation of Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) at sea. Satisfactory autonomous operation in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (Colregs) is furthermore pivotal to maritime safety. Machine execution of the Colregs has been investigated in limited circumstances and this project aims to develop a more comprehensive capability and demonstrate satisfactory execution in real-world representative sea trials. With academic support, the industrial participants aim to: demonstrate autonomous control of a USV for Mine Counter Measure (MCM) operations and develop broader USV applications along with navigational support for larger conventional vessels. A key innovation will be the use of networked bridge simulators as a safe yet effective test environment in the first instance. These highly immersive simulators, ordinarily used for mariner training, will be used to rapidly iterate development in light of human reaction from the crew of a virtual vessel encountering a synthetic autonomous vessel and real-world difficulties such as degraded sensor picture.

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