This Virginia Beach company is advancing its smart multi-robot autonomy. Here’s what that entails

SIS Advances Smart Multi-Robot Autonomy. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Spatial Integrated Systems)
SIS Advances Smart Multi-Robot Autonomy. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Spatial Integrated Systems)

Spatial Integrated Systems Inc., a Virginia Beach engineering design and development company, announced the extension of its Unmanned Surface Vehicle Swarming program under the auspices of the Office of Naval Research.

USV Swarm 2019 will set another benchmark for Navy’s USV operations as it will be the first integrated heterogeneous eight USV Swarm of autonomous Very Small (class 1) and Small (class 2) USVs, which will conduct a coordinated mission, company officials said.

The objective is to demonstrate the utility of very small and small, inexpensive USVs that can be produced in large numbers quickly.

Spatial Integrated Systems is the lead integrator and demonstration lead for Swarm and its notable preceding demonstrations: Swarm I and Swarm II.

In partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Special Integrated Systems adapted the intelligent autonomous technologies used by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Program to meet the requirements of the Navy, according to a news release from the company.

Spatial Integrated Systems’ expansion of intelligent autonomous capabilities for United States defense clients is accelerative and reflects their rapid advancement of autonomous systems.

Swarm I, conducted in 2014, demonstrated the ability for five USVs to perform as a team, under one operator, without safety riders or remote control, “a first for the U.S.Navy.”

Swarm (2016) built on those cooperative behaviors by demonstrating a different unmanned mission with 4 USVs. During another event in 2018, SIS successfully demonstrated cooperative autonomous behaviors amongst unmanned surface vehicles during a live demonstration with larger ships. These achievements are a dramatic step forward in America’s continuing dominance of the maritime battlespace, officials said.

“We’re at a fascinating moment in Naval history. Autonomous systems are emerging as pivotal capabilities on, under, and above the seas,” said Carl Conti , Spatial Integrated Systems’ technical director. “SIS is facilitating breakthrough in this space by leveraging our decades of operational and technical expertise specific with autonomous technologies and missions, and we’re driving to ensure this advantage is America’s own.”

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.