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Unmanned Surface Vessels


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Unmanned surface vessels (USVs) or autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) are a rapidly expanding area of interest for navies and commercial enterprises around the world. Cambridge Pixel is at the forefront of developing technology modules for uncrewed boats and autonomous ships, partnering with major USV developers and manufacturers across the US, Europe and Asia.

USVs find a multitude of uses, from mine hunting/sweeping to scientific research and surveying. It may be desirable to use a USV on projects that require long periods at sea or when conditions are simply too dangerous for manned craft. Uncrewed or autonomous vehicles can be much cheaper to deploy than manned vessels, while at the same time offering operational benefits, such as extended operating periods.

A USV may incorporate a number of sensing technologies to assist with navigation, collision avoidance and target recognition. Our expertise and products for radar processing provide a core set of capabilities for USV developers, including:

A feature of many unmanned boats is their ability to navigate round obstacles autonomously. While the position of stationary objects such as land and buoys may be known ahead of deployment, the dynamic position of other ships and vehicles must be sensed as the USV moves. Radar is fundamental to detecting potential obstacles at significant ranges. Extracting and tracking targets from radar video is a core competence of Cambridge Pixel.

Many USV applications require the ability to send radar video, track data and camera video back from the USV to a "mothership", via a wireless link. The link between the USV and mothership may typically be a low bandwidth microwave or satellite connection, presenting a significant challenge for reliable data sending. Cambridge Pixel has software modules that allow the best use to be made of the available bandwidth.

On the mothership, receipt and display of the data sent from the USV is a fundamental requirement. It may also be necessary to control the local processing on the USV, and possibly also the sensors themselves, remotely. Cambridge Pixel has field-proven software components that can provide each of these capabilities too.

What do our customers say?

“Effective and reliable tracking of objects around our unmanned surface vehicles is critical to their safe operation. It was therefore important that we chose an experienced and established radar tracking company to assist us in implementing such a capability. Cambridge Pixel’s engineers have worked closely with the ASV software team to not only fully integrate their tracking and sensor fusion capability into our ASView control system but also to optimise its performance and to enhance situational awareness in this very demanding environment. - Dave Martin, Head of Control at ASV Global UK

“From our long history working with Cambridge Pixel, we knew we would be successful in integrating and fusing multiple radars and sensors on different ships and boats with varying missions. We remain impressed by the Cambridge Pixel team’s responsiveness and speed in overcoming some tough technical challenges.” - Bob Cepek, the SIS Program Manager, US Navy

“Cambridge Pixel’s radar interface technology is known in the industry as being a robust and trusted system with customisable, and powerful features. We selected their products because we are committed to ensuring that SEA-KIT’s vessels are at the cutting edge of the USV market’s technology requirements. Their technical support team has been highly responsive to our needs and it has been great working with them on this latest vessel.” - Peter Walker, Director of Technology, SEA-KIT

USV Capabilities Video

From interfacing and radar data processing, to protection against GPS signal loss

We have innovative solutions covering numerous aspects of USV development

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