September 2023 OES Beacon

Autonomous Maritime Systems (AMS) Technology Committee Report

Bharath Kalyan & Bill Kirkwood, Chairs of AMS Technology Committee   

The realm of Autonomous Maritime Systems (AMS) encompasses a diverse array of vehicles, spanning flight, surface, and subsurface assemblies, each comprised of various sophisticated sub-systems and instruments. Among these are flight systems, navigation components, acoustics, propulsion systems, actuators, batteries, vision systems, and computational assets for controls and data analysis, resulting in valuable data products. These technologies are not limited to single-purpose systems; rather, they are ingeniously deployed in both vertical and horizontal multi-asset configurations, seamlessly integrated to achieve remarkable feats.

AMS implementation finds significant utilisation in the military domain, safeguarding harbours and similar areas. Beyond the military, AMS technology has widespread applications in various marine sciences, such as mid-water biology, mapping, chemical sensing, sampling, and persistent monitoring. Moreover, the industry is rapidly embracing AMS vehicles, particularly for oil field inspections and intervention tasks, signifying its growing importance.

The AMS Technology Committee is an active force in advancing this domain. Our focal point is a distinguished single-track symposium, convened biennially, and hosted at different global locations, dedicated to serving our esteemed international membership. Additionally, we proudly contribute to the publication of special issues in the esteemed IEEE OES Journal of Ocean Engineering. Education in AMS is another area where we actively contribute, fostering talent through sponsoring student poster competitions for both Masters and PhD students. Moreover, we passionately support and judge AMS competitions worldwide, where the OES often stands tall as a key sponsor.

RAMI (16 ‒ 21 July 2023, La Spezia, Italy)

The Robotics for Asset Maintenance and Inspection (RAMI) Marine Robots is the latest challenge in the European Robotics League (ERL) series of marine competitions. The competition recently concluded its second edition of RAMI at the esteemed NATO STO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) in La Spezia, Italy. The competition consisted of 3 sections, Poster, Team Presentations and the in-water component which had a new challenge each day over three days. Coming out of COVID this competition tested the capabilities of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) from participating teams, challenging them with intricate inspection and maintenance tasks within the secure CMRE protected seawater basin. The AUVs demonstrated their prowess in perception, manipulation, adaptive mission planning, and autonomous navigation to achieve success in this demanding event. A series of awards were given for the various competition components with an additional award given by IEEE OES for Innovation. A full article will be coming from the event organisers with the list of participants and winners. Next year’s competition was also announced and will again be held in La Spezia during July of 2024. The CMRE organisers are looking forward to it and have already received input from several universities that they plan to attend which will expand the pool of competitors. Although the competition is listed as ERL, it is open to all who want to compete and teams from Asia, the Americas and elsewhere are encouraged to look for the new challenge announcement, which will also be published in the Beacon. Further details can be found at this link:

BTS 2023 (25 ‒ 29 September 2023, Kumbor, Montenegro)

Breaking the Surface (BTS) is a prestigious international interdisciplinary field workshop dedicated to maritime robotics and applications. Since its inception in 2009, it has been a convergence point for global experts, university professors, scientists, industry leaders, and students across various disciplines. The meticulously designed program includes illuminating lectures that unveil the latest scientific research and discoveries. Field demonstrations showcase cutting-edge technological advancements by research groups and companies, while hands-on tutorials offer experiential learning with complex modern underwater systems. Company presentations, featuring insights from industry professionals about their organisations and products, further enrich this exceptional event. Comprehensive information regarding the 2023 edition can be found here

SAUVC 2024 (5 – 8 April 2024, Singapore)

The Singapore Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge (SAUVC) stands tall as Asia’s grandest underwater vehicle competition, inviting teams to develop an exceptional AUV capable of accomplishing assigned tasks. These tasks simulate real-world operational challenges, putting the AUVs through their paces. Held in an aquatic arena, each team’s AUV must complete a series of five demanding tasks (AUV navigation, underwater communication, visual identification, acoustic localisation and robotic manipulation), with speed and precision determining the ultimate victor. The 9th edition, scheduled for 2024, will precede OCEANS 2024 Singapore, providing a unique opportunity for participating student teams to be part of this prestigious international conference. Further details about the challenge can be found here:

AUV 2024 (TBD, Boston, USA)

The IEEE OES AUV Symposium stands as a collaborative endeavour, proudly sponsored by IEEE OES, and held once every two years. This symposium aims to unite pioneers in the field of marine robotics, with a special focus on autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), facilitating knowledge exchange and charting the course for future innovations. The much-awaited 2024 edition of the IEEE OES AUV Symposium will grace the campus of Northeastern University, Boston.

Conference Technical Sessions

OCEANS 2024 Singapore has proposed two special topics highly relevant to the AMS TC:

  1. Novel AUV, USV, and multi-domain platform designs.
  2. Field Marine Robotics.

The AMS TC extends a cordial invitation and enthusiastic encouragement for your support and participation in these compelling sessions. Should you wish to reach out to the committee, kindly do so via e-mail at and