Coast Guard statistics indicate that a collision with a recreational vessel or a collision with a fixed object are the first and second primary accident types for watercraft. In 2015 there were nearly 1,500 of these incidents recorded resulting in almost 1000 injuries. Operator inattention and improper lookout were the first and third highest contributing factors. Even with the advances in onboard electronics and GPS systems, boating collisions continue to be a problem.
Navy researchers are responding to this issue with smart navigation technology. ACANS navigates via a route tracking algorithm, detecting an obstacle and the obstacle’s bearing, speed, distance, and direction of travel with relative to itself. It determines whether a collision between the ship and the obstacle is probable, reducing ship speed when a collision distance is less than a predetermined distance, determining a new heading using fuzzy logic in a modified course alteration diagram (MCAD) controller, and changing ship course to the new heading. The route tracking algorithm resumes when the obstacle is cleared from the probability of collision.
System components include a computer controlling the throttle, rudder, obstacle detection device, gyrocompass, and autopilot.
- Additional features include route planning and monitoring
- Interfaces with RADAR, ARPA RADAR, LIDAR, SONAR
- Adheres to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Colregs)
- Applications in manned and autonomous vessels
- US patent 9,418,558 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers