Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have recently invented software for autonomous air, land, or sea vehicles that identifies an energy-optimal path to a given destination. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.
Energy is a key constraint on the performance of vehicles because it dictates their range, endurance, and payload capacity. There are two energy-related ways to improve the performance of a vehicle: store more energy or manage the available energy more intelligently.
An example of the latter approach is an air vehicle that harvests solar energy taking advantage of tailwinds and sunnier regions instead of simply going with the shortest route.
The Navy software takes into account the initial location, an initial time, the final location, the vehicle energy model, and an environmental forecast to generate a global path.
In another example, the invention could maximize the use of available energy, such as sunlight while minimizing fuel burn.
- Can allow for greater vehicle range and endurance
- Reduced fuel consumption through reduced energy consumption and greater capture of energy from the environment, which in turn fosters a reduced logistics burden
- More fuel available upon arrival to carry out another mission
- Reduced transit time from starting location to destination
- Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent Application 20190107408 from the Navy
- License fees paid to the Navy are negotiable
- Businesses that license the technology may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors
- Testing data may be available to companies evaluating the technology
- TechLink guides businesses through evaluation and licensing; services provided at no cost