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29 September 2016

UK MoD and ASV Global Sign Licence Agreement for USV Software

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a licence agreement with ASV Global allowing for the use of its Advanced Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Capability technology. The contract has been signed through Ploughshare Innovations, the technology transfer arm of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

UK’s Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) (Photo: Crown)

The licence is centred on Dstl’s Advanced USV Capability Project, due for completion in late 2017, which has developed an autonomous navigation system that enables USVs to operate safely at both high and low speeds.

With funding from Dstl, ASV Global has developed advanced marine autonomy software, recently showcased on the Tidal Thames with the Royal Navy.

This agreement allows ASV Global to expand the use of the software, the intellectual property of which lies with Dstl.

This licencing agreement will enable ASV Global to exploit this technology across its current product range which offers Autonomous Surface Vehicles for both military and commercial applications.

"Working with Dstl has enabled ASV Global to design and test advanced autonomous capabilities," ASV Global’s Managing Director Dan Hook said. "This technology will enable ASV Global to access new market areas as well as continuing to solidify our position as the leading autonomous surface vehicle system supplier."

While this software has obvious applications for the marine sector, Dstl’s Dr Philip Smith, Ship Systems & Integrated Survivability Programme Manager, says it could be used elsewhere: “There is a need for more efficient platforms with greater automated systems across all domains – air, land and sea – so there are many potential routes for this software.”

Initially, ASV Global will integrate the software onto its ASView control system for a demonstration at the Unmanned Warrior event in the waters off Scotland in October, in which more than 40 autonomous systems are taking part.

From left James Kirby, CEO Ploughshare Innovations, Dan Hook, MD ASV Global, and Dstl’s Dr Philip Smith, Ship Systems & Integrated Survivability Programme Manager. (Photo: Crown)