Autonomous Watercraft Docking and Refueling Architecture (AWDRA)
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-177
Topic Title: Autonomous Watercraft Docking and Refueling Architecture (AWDRA)
Proposal No.: N082-177-0358
Firm: Michigan Aerospace Corporation
1777 Highland Drive
Suite B
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108-2285
Contact: Anthony Hays
Phone: (734) 975-8777
Web Site:
Abstract: With the increased emphasis in recent years on expanding the Navy's capabilities in littoral battlespace, there has been an increasing demand for self-sustaining autonomous vehicle networks that can support this expansion. Manned refueling and servicing of surface vehicles is currently possible, but imposes a significant degree of risk on the crew; bringing the autonomous vehicles back to a host ship for refueling and replenishment takes time and effort away from the assigned mission. Michigan Aerospace Corporation proposes to leverage its extensive technical experience in the field of autonomous servicing systems to develop a common, robust, multi-platform-capable refueling system architecture. The Autonomous Watercraft Docking and Refueling Architecture (AWDRA) will provide for a compliant capture system that is used in a bow-to-stern rendezvous and docking operation between an automated surface tender and a target surface vehicle in need of replenishment while both vehicles are moving forward in up to Sea State 3 conditions.
Benefits: The AWDRA fueling system will provide the Navy with the ability to keep unmanned surface assets on-mission for longer periods of time between required recovery aboard larger vessels. This will have the effect of reducing the manpower required to carry out a given unmanned surface vessel mission profile, along with reducing the dangers to the personnel implementing such missions.