Public Release: 

ONR tech on display at Fleet Week NY

Fleet Week 2015

Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va.--Keeping with the Navy's and Marine Corps' commitment to greater autonomy, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) will showcase several unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs), as well as other technologies for the future force, May 21-25 at Fleet Week New York, a free event open to the public.

"This is an excellent opportunity to connect with service members and the public to let them know about ONR's investments in cutting-edge science and technology--and to show how we are working to protect those who risk their lives to defend our country," said ONR Executive Director Dr. Walter Jones.

ONR will have exhibits on Piers 86 (outside the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the decommissioned USS Intrepid aircraft carrier) and 92; an interactive display in Times Square; and, for the first time, an exhibit at the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

ONR will feature unmanned autonomous technologies at both the New York Hall of Science and Intrepid pier. These include:

  • Flimmer (Flying Swimmer)--An unmanned platform that can be deployed from the air, glide to a water surface landing in an area of interest, and transform into a swimming autonomous vehicle.

  • WANDA--Influenced by the physiological design of the Wrasse, a popular aquarium fish, WANDA (Wrasse-inspired Agile Near-shore Deformable-fin Automaton) has four fins on its sides for propulsion and control. Sophisticated algorithms use information about the vehicle's motion and surrounding environment to control fin movement.

  • Flexrotor--This vertical takeoff and landing UAV is part helicopter, part airplane. It has an oversized propeller with helicopter-like controls for vertical takeoff and landing, as well as the wings of a conventional aircraft.

  • Explosive ordnance-disposal robots--These robots can find and dispose of explosives without putting humans in danger.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert's Sailing Directions to the fleet note that over the next 10-15 years, the Navy will evolve and remain the preeminent maritime force--and autonomy will play a key role moving forward. It directs: "Unmanned systems in the air and water will employ greater autonomy and be fully integrated with their manned counterparts."

At the Intrepid pier, visitors also will be able to participate in fun, hands-on activities designed for students--from elementary to high school--including SeaPerch, a remote-controlled underwater vehicle that teaches the basics of robotics, engineering, science and mathematics. In addition, for the first time, ONR and the U.S. Naval Academy will partner to host exhibits geared toward high school and community college students, who can actually perform experiments in hydraulics and electronics on the pier.

Since 1984, Fleet Week New York has served as the city's celebration of the sea services. According to organizers, the event provides an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and view some of those services' latest capabilities. The event includes military demonstrations and displays, as well as tours of some participating ships.

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