The University of South Carolina, in partnership with Honolulu, Hawaii, headquartered Navatek LLC, has won a $9.2 million contract from the U.S. Office of Naval Research for the research of power and energy systems and the development of digital twin prototypes.
The goal of the project is to harness the full power of a ship’s electrical system to meet critical needs with the help of semi and fully autonomous decision aids, to be developed by Navatek and UofSC. The project will conduct research into power and energy systems modeling and machine learning, and design and develop a first of its kind digital twin of combat power and energy systems for the U.S. Navy.
Navatek and UofSC will deliver coupled hardware and software to demonstrate, test, and validate the performance of the digital twin control systems.
The project will integrate machine learning systems with traditional Navy ships.
Historically, Navatek has been a provider of naval architecture and modeling and simulation services, although its portfolio has diversified to encompass digital twins, power and energy systems, unmanned vehicles, robotics, autonomy, AI/ML, data science, inflatables, composites, and additive manufacturing. In preparation for this project, Navatek has hired 10 full-time scientists and engineers and four interns from UofSC and South Carolina State University at its new office in Columbia, S.C. The company intends to expand its presence in the state to 60 employees during the next 30 months.
“The research and development strengths of Navatek and UofSC are truly complementary, making the joint team uniquely positioned to develop innovative solutions and expert personnel for the Navy for many years to come,” said Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of UofSC’s College of Engineering and Computing.
UofSC says that its partnership with Navatek provides opportunities for American students to work on Navy projects and be exposed to leading-edge technologies. It says the ONR contract is helping build the next generation of a STEM-focused workforce that will lead naval technology.
“This is a very timely opportunity for UofSC to continue to lead the nation in the emerging field of Navy digital twin research, and to educate and train the next generation of innovators in this and related fields,” said Haj-Hariri.