Cooperative Autonomous Swarm Technology (CAST)

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) CAST program seeks to develop technologies to enable cooperative operations of unmanned maritime systems including unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and weapons in a wide range of mission areas. In the maritime environment there are unique challenges with navigation, communication and sensing. Swarms appear to be a promising approach when high-redundancy and lack of a single point of failure are desired, along with the technical infeasibility to set up the infrastructure required to control the group.

Research Concentration Areas

The CAST program supports basic research (6.1) in the following areas:

  • Distributive control and self-management
  • Bio-inspired group behaviors /collective behavior
  • Collaborative navigation
  • Homogenous and heterogeneous groups
  • Fault management / Re-configurability
  • Counter swarm

Research Challenges and Opportunities

These are some examples of challenges and opportunities, this is not an exhaustive list, please reach out to the program officer for more information.

  • Investigate and develop distributed algorithms to allow a group of agents to function as a swarm.
  • Underwater navigation is challenging, are there methods for improvement utilizing multiple vehicle or swarms?
  • As adversaries are creating swarms, how will we counter them, are there novel technologies that will help?
  • Investigate the ability for swarms to operate with no communication amongst the participants.

Program Contact Information

Name: Christine Buzzell

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 333

Email for Questions:

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-21-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

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