surface, or underwater vehicles, increased autonomy allows more complex missions and provides more value to the user, especially for those systems to which sustained communications are not feasible.


Following the Executive Summary and this brief introduction to the report, which provides the committee’s definition of the term “autonomous vehicles,” Chapter 2 contains a discussion of the naval operational environment and vision for the Navy and Marine Corps and of naval mission needs and potential applications and limitations of AVs. Chapter 3 discusses autonomy technology—including the state of the art of today’s autonomous systems and levels of autonomy. Chapter 4 focuses on the capabilities and potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. Chapter 5 focuses on unmanned surface and undersea vehicles, and Chapter 6 discusses unmanned ground vehicles. Each of these chapters discusses the potential of AVs for naval operations, the operational needs and technology issues, and the opportunities for improved operations. Chapter 7 discusses the integration of autonomy in network-centric operations, including UAV command and control, UAV communications, ISR and UAVs, interoperability issues for AVs, and space-based systems. Chapters 3 through 7 present the committee’s conclusions and recommendations.

Appendix A provides brief biographies of the members of the committee. Appendix B offers a technical discussion of AV scaling, energy, sensing, communications, and related topics. Appendix C provides more details on the UAV system descriptions. Appendix D is a list of acronyms and abbreviations.

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