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Navy Eyes Industry Partnerships, Expanded Integration Operations for RAIL Unmanned Vessel Hub

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The U.S. Navy is working to establish budget allocations and program requirements for its recently established laboratory for developing and testing unmanned underwater and surface vehicles.

Capt. Pete Small, program manager for unmanned maritime systems at the Navy, said at an Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International event that the Navy is looking to implement a strategy for the Rapid Integration Autonomy Lab’s (RAIL) programs beyond fiscal year 2022, National Defense Magazine reported Tuesday.

The RAIL effort, first announced in July, is slated to include an expanded integration facility to support the deployment of USV and UUV technologies such as sensors and autonomous payloads through software-in-the-loop as well as modeling and simulation assessments.

Small noted that he envisions the lab as a collaborative space encompassing a network of software tools and cloud-based environments.

“We will rely heavily on industry to bring those tools to the RAIL to do the testing that we require,” he said.

RAIL currently houses testing activities for the prototype Overload autonomous vessel which is scheduled to undergo experimentation in FY 2021, according to the report.