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Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering
Spiral Notebook
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EN448: Autonomous Vessel Fabrication & Evaluation

Catalog Description

EN448: Autonomous Vessel Fabrication & Evaluation (1-4-3)

This course provides additional 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 fabricate, outfit, test, and operate 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 fabricate and outfit/integrate 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), associated analytical processes, and formal test plans/procedures.
  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, Innovation in Ship Design, and Autonomous System Design
  2. Project Management and Project Budgeting
  3. Material/Resource Management
  4. Material Selection, Fabrication Tools/Processes, and Composite Material Concepts
  5. Hull Construction and Rig Construction
  6. Hull Outfitting and Systems Integration
  7. Test Plan/Procedure Development and Execution
  8. Operational Evaluation (Field Testing) and In-Situ Troubleshooting Techniques
  9. Autonomous Navigation and Machine Learning
  10. Technology Policy and Ethics of Autonomous Systems

Laboratory Projects

  1. Design Analysis and Material/Resource Preparation (Including Mold Preparation)
  2. Composite Fabrication
  3. USV Fabrication (Unique Hull Design and MaxiMOOP)
  4. Hull Outfitting and Systems Integration
  5. USV Testing, Improvement, and Finalization
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