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Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering
Spiral Notebook
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EN447: Autonomous Vessel Design

Catalog Description

EN447: Autonomous Vessel Design (2-2-3)

This course provides exposure to the revolutionary world of unmanned/autonomous systems, including unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).  As a project-based course, midshipmen will apply the best practices of naval architecture, marine engineering, ocean engineering, and systems engineering to design a next-generation USV capable of transiting the Atlantic Ocean in a fully autonomous manner.


  • Principles of Yacht Design, Fourth Edition (Larsson, Eliasson, and Orych, 2014)
  • The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction (Gougeon, 2005)
  • Fiberglass Boat Design and Construction (Scott, 1996)
  • Composite Materials in Maritime Structures, Volume I/II (Shenoi and Wellicome, 2008)
  • Theory of Wing Sections (Abbott and Von Doenhoff, 1959)


  1. Understand traditional ship/submarine design practices, technology development processes/procedures, and the role of innovation in unmanned system design.
  2. Develop a greater understanding of fundamental naval architecture principles, including hull-form design, hydrostatics, stability, keel/rudder design, sail/rig design, resistance, propulsion, and seakeeping performance.
  3. Apply fundamental engineering principles to create an iterative concept design for a fully autonomous USV.
  4. Develop a greater understanding of composite material properties, fabrication methods, and performance characteristics.
  5. Develop greater proficiency with computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools and associated analytical processes.
  6. Understand modern concepts for unmanned systems, including basic autonomy, control algorithms, sensor functionality, autonomous navigation, machine learning, and various ethical considerations.
  7. Develop a greater understanding of naval warfare concepts/policies, including the emerging role of unmanned/autonomous systems.
  8. Improve technical writing, verbal presentation, and general communication skills (including literature review practices).


ENM/ENMH Major OR Approval of Department Chair

Class Topics

  1. Technology Development and Innovation in Ship Design
  2. Autonomous System Design
  3. Design Methodology (Design Spiral and Work Breakdown Structure)
  4. Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) Tools and Practices
  5. Hull Geometry and Hull Design/Layout
  6. Hydrostatics and Stability
  7. Material Selection, Fabrication Tools/Processes, and Composite Material Concepts
  8. Keel and Rudder Design
  9. Sail and Rig Design
  10. Ship Balance
  11. Rig Construction, Hull Construction, and Scantling Determination
  12. Design Evaluation Tools, Processes, and Procedures
  13. Sailing Fundamentals and Rules of the Road
  14. Electronic/Control Systems, Sensors, and Power Distribution
  15. Basic Autonomy, Control Algorithms, and Control System Integration
  16. Autonomous Navigation and Machine Learning
  17. Technology Policy
  18. Ethics of Autonomous Systems

Laboratory Projects

  1. Introduction to Design And Fabrication Tools/Materials
  2. Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)
  3. Composite Fabrication
  4. MaxiMOOP Fabrication
  5. USV Design Development, Evaluation, Improvement, and Finalization
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