MTS/Oceaneering Symposium Brings Insights on Autonomous Vehicle Development

October 16, 2019

Greater endurance. That’s where Federal Agencies and the military want to see the greatest improvement in autonomous marine vehicles. That was one of many takeaways from the Annual MTS/Oceaneering Symposium held in Maryland this September.

The 27th annual event, co-hosted by the MTS DC Section and Oceaneering, is lovingly thought of as the “crabfest” for its dinner featuring heaps of Maryland steamed crabs. It’s also a key networking event featuring dozens of exhibitors.

This year, the event included a separate “Autonomy and the Blue Economy” Technology Forum, moderated by Marine Technology Society President, Rick Spinrad, featuring a distinguished panel of industry and naval experts including Rear Admiral David J. Hahn, Chief of Naval Research; Rear Admiral Lower Half, Nancy Hann, Deputy Director for Operations, NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations; and Mike Connor, VADM (Ret), President and CEO, ThayerMahan Inc.

With the Ocean Economy booming, the panel cited the need for data sharing and transparency along with the desire to increase the manufacturing of autonomous vehicles and make them cheaper.

Where is the technology headed? The panel identified smaller robot swarms, less expensive ROV’s, autonomous service vehicles, increased drone use, real-time data, live streaming of expeditions, and higher resolution imaging as cutting-edge science.  Future advances will rely on our ability to work across disciplines and partner with scientists working on synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, 5G communications, and microbiology, among others.

Thanks to Oceaneering for sponsoring a standout event, and look for news about the 2020 MTS/Oceaneering Symposium.

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