of loss of vehicle; and shared use of distributed resources (e.g., sensors, weapons, and so on).
Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN(RD&A)) and the Chief of Naval Research (CNR) should direct the Navy and Marine Corps Systems Commands, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) to partner with the operational community and monitor the concepts and development of critical autonomous vehicle-related technologies considered essential to the accomplishment of future naval missions. The progress of these developments should be tracked year to year. Specifically:
Pursue New Autonomy Concepts and Technology Developments. The ASN (RD&A) should direct appropriate agencies in the Navy and Marine Corps to formulate and maintain a list of the most promising moderately to highly mature autonomy technologies (Technology Readiness Level: TRL > 4) that can enable, critical near-term autonomous vehicle capabilities. Plans to pursue further development of these capabilities should be developed and funded, and progress should be tracked year to year to ensure the proper pace of development.
The ONR should develop autonomous vehicle research and development (R&D) needs and a technology roadmap to achieve the goals defined by the various vision documents of the Naval Services. ONR should leverage the current operational experience and the recommended increase in future operational experience with autonomous vehicles in order to define R&D needs to address specific, high-value operational needs.
Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN(RD&A)) should mandate that level of mission autonomy be included as a required up-front design trade-off in all unmanned vehicle system development contracts. Specifically:
Incorporate Level of Mission Autonomy as an Autonomous Vehicle Design Trade-off. The ASN(RD&A) should direct appropriate agencies in the Navy and Marine Corps to exploit level of mission autonomy as a degree of freedom for impacting concepts of operations, mission effectiveness, vehicle survivability, and system affordability by including a level of mission autonomy as a design choice in the early-stage system trade-off studies. The architecture of all new autonomous vehicles should be such that increasing levels of autonomy can be implemented in the field by modular replacement and/or software upgrade.