Skip to main content

Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles (USUV) Laboratory

Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles

Working in conjunction with academic and government collaborators, the mission of the Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles lab is to verify autonomy concepts and develop emerging technologies in real-world applications for unmanned surface vessels, including:

  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Trajectory planning
  • Tracking control
  • Real-world sea simulation
  • Coordinated mission for multi-agent systems

Since its inception in 2002, the USUV lab has engaged in a variety of projects through funding by the Office of Naval Research, Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD). Current research includes sliding mode and backstepping control of underactuated planar vessels with nonholonomic constraints.


The lab consists of a 4-ft deep, 10' x 15' pool, several autonomous vessels and various obstacles. A set of six webcams are used to provide absolute position and orientation feedback. The pool is equipped with wind, wave and current generators, and an array of monitoring and testing equipment.

Current Research Grants

Title: Robust Control of Networks of Heterogeneous Nonholonomic Vehicles in Uncertain Environments
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Dates: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2022

The primary objective is to develop a mathematically rigorous framework for robust real-time coordinated trajectory planning and tracking control of networks of heterogeneous nonholonomic agents in uncertain environments. Formulating a decentralized control system for networks of nonholonomic heterogeneous agents will transform multi-agent control to cover a previously unresolved research topic applicable to coordinated shipboard landings, formation flying for ensembles of heterogeneous unmanned air vehicles including aerial refueling, and other collaborative missions involving autonomous air and surface and underwater marine vehicles.


Dr. Hashem Ashrafiuon

Dr. Hashem Ashrafiuon, Professor, Mechanical Engineering