in support of these programs. The Navy is exploring innovative methods to reduce weight and lower cost; these methods include the use of high-powered lasers for welding and cutting and for application of surface coatings. One such application on Navy ships involves fabrication of corrugated steel panels (termed LASCOR) that provide high strength-to-weight ratios and significant fire retardation properties. Techniques under development include in situ repair and fabrication using fiber-optic delivery of laser energy. The science and technology efforts on advanced composite materials for marine applications are aimed at high-strength materials that are lightweight and damage resistant. Through considerable research into marine corrosion and biofouling, the Navy has also developed new mitigation techniques (see Table D6 and Table D7 in Appendix D) that could benefit the entire marine industry.

Remote Vehicle Design and Operation

With its strong background in undersea vehicle design, ONR has under way numerous efforts applicable to the development of deep submergence and remotely operated or piloted vehicles. Vehicles such as the MEDIA/JASON family and the ALVIN are examples. Additional programs support a new group of vehicles called AUVs (autonomous undersea vehicles). These new designs would be untethered, remotely controlled, autonomously programmed vehicles, with both navigational and robotic capacities. These and similar technological developments are potentially exploitable by the commercial marketplace:

  • Sensors, including acoustic, laser, and magnetic systems

  • Structures, including remotely operated vehicle (ROV) designs and methods, materials, and handling

  • Cabling/communications, including fiber-optic tow cables and acoustic communications

  • Autopilot/control, including laser gyros, fiber-optic sensors, and motion compensator systems

  • Power/energy systems, including energy-efficient thermal and electrical systems such as “wick” combustors and lithium-seawater batteries

  • Thrusters/propulsors, including advanced, significantly quieter and more efficient thruster designs

  • Robotics, including manipulators, tools (e.g., rock drills), nonlinear control systems, adaptive sampling, and mini-winches

  • Data assimilation/display, including data fusion techniques and virtual displays

  • Simulators, including distributed and interactive Simulators for design and training

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