Science of Autonomy Program

The Science of Autonomy program addresses critical multi-disciplinary research challenges that cut across different Office of Naval Research departments and warfighting areas/domains. This involves different autonomous system domains that have traditionally been somewhat separated (air, sea, undersea, ground), including: control theory, artificial intelligence, human factors engineering and related fields such as biology/animal behavior/cognition, economics/management theory, cognitive science/psychology and neuroscience. A key aspect of the Science of Autonomy program is to enable new teaming arrangements across the relevant disciplines and to encourage multi-disciplinary education of students in these areas.

Fundamental research in this program will support the development of future autonomous systems that may be used for many naval mission areas across different operating domains. The goal is to enable heterogeneous naval unmanned naval systems to:

  • Operate as part of a hybrid force with manned systems and platforms
  • Maintain survivability through decentralized assets and redundancy
  • Reduce the need to place personnel and high-value assets in high-threat areas
  • Reduce manning and communication requirements
  • Determine the best way to accomplish each mission task, with appropriate human guidance, freeing the warfighter to maintain awareness of the entire battlespace
  • Expand the operational envelope of naval forces, provide force multiplication or replace existing capabilities with less expensive alternatives

Program Contact Information

Name: Marc Steinberg

Title: Program Manager

Department: Code 35

Division: Aerospace Research


Office of Naval Research
875 N. Randolph Street, Rm. 1133
Arlington, Va. 22203

* Some pages on this website provide links which require a plug in to view.