Navy

Energy optimized navigation for autonomous vehicles

Software that takes into account the vehicle energy model and environmental forecast to generate an efficient path

Software & Information Technology Energy Environmental

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.

A Chevrolet Bolt fitted with an autonomous vehicle system in San Francisco. Navy scientists have created a method of identifying an energy-optimal path for such vehicles. (Dllu/Wikimedia)

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.

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