Plenary: Autonomous Systems & Marine Autonomy

Marine Autonomy: Where We Are, Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going

Monday, October 5

Autonomy on land is pushing the limits of Machine Learning, AI and Robotics. While this is a relatively recent occurrence, the marine community has, by necessity, been working on Autonomous Vehicles for far longer and with far greater constraints. Underwater vehicles need to be truly autonomous due to constraints on acoustic bandwidth. Our work is conducted in extremely harsh environments, including the depths of the ocean and under ice. A variety of other constraints including imaging, navigation and power make problems underwater far more difficult. Using real world examples from deployments with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (*AUVs), and Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs), this talk highlights what we have achieved as a community, the problems that we are on currently facing and the exciting future that we will be embracing in the next ten years.

Speaker: Rear Admiral Lorin Selby
Chief of Naval Research

Rear Adm. Lorin Selby is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering and earned his commission through the Navy’s Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He also holds a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering and a Nuclear Engineer degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His shipboard tours include USS Puffer (SSN 652), USS Pogy (SSN 647) and USS Connecticut (SSN 22). From July 2004 to May 2007 he commanded USS Greeneville (SSN 772) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During these assignments, Selby conducted several deployments to the Western
Pacific, Northern Pacific, Northern Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Ashore, Selby’s staff assignments include duty as a company officer and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, service as the deputy director of the Navy’s liaison office to the U.S. House of Representatives and duty as the Submarine Platforms and Strategic Programs branch head in the Submarine Warfare Directorate on the Navy Staff. Following selection as an acquisition professional, he served as the program manager for both the Submarine Imaging and Electronic Warfare Systems Program office (PMS 435) and the Advanced Undersea Systems Program office (PMS 394).

As a flag officer, Selby served as commander, Naval Surface Warfare Centers (NSWC) from October 2014 to August 2016. In this position, he led more than 17,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel, both civilian and active duty, within eight NSWC divisions located across the country. From June 2016 until May 2020, he served as the Navy’s chief engineer and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration and Naval Engineering (SEA 05), where he led the engineering and scientific expertise, knowledge and technical authority necessary to design, build, maintain, repair, modernize, certify and dispose of the Navy’s ships, aircraft carriers, submarines and associated combat and weapons systems.

In May of 2020, he assumed command of the Office of Naval Research as the 26th Chief of Naval Research.

Selby is authorized to wear the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards) in addition to various unit awards.

Speaker: Professor Hanumanth Singh
Professor, Northeastern University (Boston, MA)

Hanumant Singh is a Professor at Northeastern University (NU) where he is also the Director of the multidisciplinary Center for Robotics at NU. He received his Ph.D. from the MIT WHOI Joint Program in 1995 after which he worked on the Staff at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution until 2016 when he joined Northeastern. His group has designed and built the Seabed AUV, as well as the Jetyak Autonomous Surface Vehicle, dozens of which are in use for scientific and other purposes across the globe. He has participated in 60 expeditions across the world.

Speaker: RDML Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy NOAA Administrator

Dr. Gallaudet is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From 2017-2019 he served as the Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. Before these assignments, he served for 32 years in the US Navy, completing his service in 2017 as the Oceanographer of the Navy. In his current position, Dr. Gallaudet leads NOAA’s Blue Economy activities that advance marine transportation, sustainable seafood, ocean exploration and mapping, marine tourism and recreation, and coastal resilience. He also directs NOAA’s support to the Administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, oversees NOAA’s Arctic research, operations, and engagement, and is leading the execution of the NOAA science and technology strategies for Artificial Intelligence, Unmanned Systems, ‘Omics, Cloud, and Citizen Science.

Dr. Gallaudet chairs or co-chairs several interagency bodies, including the Coordinating Board for the Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), the US Coral Reef Task Force, the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee, and the Ocean Resources Management Subcommittee (ORM) under the White House Ocean Policy Committee (OPC), of which he is also a member. Other committees on which he serves include the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, the NSTC Committee on STEM Education, the Policy Coordination Committees (PCCs) under the National Security Council (NSC) on Pacific Island Countries, the Arctic, and Maritime Security, and the Executive Steering Group of the National Space Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee.

His top priority at NOAA has been people. He has been a vocal champion for NOAA’s diversity and inclusion, leader development, coaching, facilitating, new supervisor training, and awards programs. As acting Administrator, he directed the establishment of NOAA’s mentoring program, the agency’s sexual assault and harassment prevention and response program, and the establishment of NOAA’s workplace violence prevention director.

Dr. Gallaudet has a Bachelor’s Degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master’s and Doctorate Degree from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, all in oceanography.