Marine Technology Seminar: Robotics for Autonomous Submarine Warfare - Gabriele Ferri

Friday 9 February 2018 - 10:30
NOC Southampton - Innovation Centre
Dr. Gabriele Ferri - NATO STO CMRE

Robotics for Autonomous Submarine Warfare


Dr. Gabriele Ferri, NATO STO CMRE



Traditionally, the task of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) is a capital asset-intensive activity and has been carried out by means of fixed sensors such as sonobuoys  and mobile assets such as Marine Patrol Aircrafts and submarines or frigates with towed array. The ASW final objective is to infer from the large amount of collected data if a target is present in the area and to track it for its correct classification. Existing traditional approaches can be expensive and asset intensive.

Recent advances in marine robotics have made small and low-cost AUVs an opportunity. These results suggest that Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) can become part of underwater surveillance systems since they can guarantee the persistent monitoring of an area at lower costs than traditional assets and offer the possibility to complement or even substitute current solutions. Compared to traditional assets, these small, low-power and mobile units have usually limited processing and communication capabilities. However, when deployed in a spatially separated network, they can be interconnected to form an intelligent network characterised by scalability, robustness, reliability and adaptability.

This talk analyses the use of autonomous systems in ASW applications, their potentialities and the challenges still open. The talk will focus on how autonomy can increase the performance of the network. Autonomous decisions are indeed necessary when a reliable communication link cannot be guarantee from a Control Station to the network nodes. Autonomy can increase the network performance allowing the robots to use their mobility to adapt their mission to the changing environmental conditions and to the evolving tactical scene. This can improve the network performance in terms of target tracking/classification and of an increased area coverage (higher temporal and spatial resolution) in area search/patrol tasks.



Dr Gabriele Ferri received the Laurea degree (M.S.) in Computer Engineering (with Honors) from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2003. From 2003 to 2005, he worked as a Software/System Consultant Engineer for WASS company (a Finmeccanica group company) in Livorno, Italy, developing a new System of Control and Guidance for a light-weighted torpedo. He earned a Ph.D. in Biorobotic Science and Engineering jointly from Scuola Superiore

S. Anna, Pisa, Italy and IMT Advanced Studies, Lucca in 2008. In 2007 he was a visiting researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA.After a period as a Postdoctoral Investigator at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in which he worked as Project Leader of the HydroNet project, in 2012 he won a position as Research Scientist at the CMRE to investigate novel approaches for the autonomy of AUVs in ASW applications. His research interests include robotic systems for environmental monitoring/exploration, control theory and robot navigation topics. He has been the Technical Director of SAUC-E from 2014 to 2016 (Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge-Europe) ( and of euRathlon 2014 and 2015 robot competitions ( and Technical Director of the European Robotics League Emergency 2017.


The Innovation Centre can be reached via the workshops/stores corridor on the ground floor, and a sign to the Hub is about 100 m down that corridor on the right. Go up the stairs and through the door and turn right. Note that the access door to the Innovation Centre Hub is security-locked, but we will ensure it is monitored so attendees can be let in promptly. 

We only have seating capacity of about 30 in the Innovation Centre Hub, so be aware that if we exceed this it will be standing room only. There will be opportunities for informal discussions over doughnuts in the Innovation Centre Hub before and after the talks. 

Seminar category: 
Marine Technology