Protecting valuable assets requires persistent vigilance and situational awareness to enable command decisions effecting rapid responses. This level of attention comes at a cost, in terms of manpower or infrastructure.

Until now the time lag between intruder detection and getting “eyes on” has been costly in terms of defence resources and lives. The attack on the USS Cole and the destructive intrusion at Camp Bastion are notable examples. The intelligent Watch Dog, or iWatchdog™, addresses this deficiency by providing autonomous, rapid and effective surveillance in challenging environments and unexpected situations. iWatchdog has been developed for military contexts, including protection of permanent and forward air bases, ships manoeuvring in confined spaces and at dock or at anchor.

iWatchdog is capable of autonomously monitoring a variety of sensors including radar for intrusion detection. It selects appropriate response vehicles to investigate and relay real-time video footage back to human supervisors at the command post. The autonomous response includes drones, Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs), or other systems such as remote surveillance cameras.

To maintain tactical awareness human supervisors are presented with the instantaneous tactical picture by the Multi-Vehicle Tasking Station (MVTS), a key component of iWatchdog. The vehicles are tasked by MVTS so that the supervisors do not need to remotely control any of the response systems. This ensures that supervisors have excellent situational awareness, and are able to focus their attention on the threat and on formulating an appropriate and timely response. The MVTS does not replace or duplicate the current generation of Ground Control Stations (GCS), which are focused on the remote human control of vehicles, typically a single vehicle. Instead, the MVTS is designed to complement the GCS – either standalone, or integrated with the displays of the GCS.

The intelligent behaviour in iWatchdog is powered by C-BDI™, AOS’s latest and most advanced multi-agent reasoning software, the culmination of more than twenty years of research and development. C-BDI allows expert knowledge to be rapidly applied to new and dynamic environments, allowing iWatchdog’s vehicles to work both as individuals and in teams.

This technology makes iWatchdog able to cope with complex situations, providing faster and more effective surveillance. This in turn lets supervisors react with more knowledge, potentially saving lives and avoiding damage or destruction of critical assets. iWatchdog was deployed at Autonomous Warrior 2018 in Jervis Bay, where it tasked an autonomous UGV and an autonomous USV from Northrop Grumman Undersea Systems – an 11m RHIB.