A training simulation system with realistic autonomous ship control

Monica Nicolescu*, Ryan Leigh, Adam Olenderski, Sushil Louis, Sergiu Dascalu, Chris Miles, Juan Quiroz, Ryan Aleson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we present a computational approach to developing effective training systems for virtual simulation environments. In particular, we focus on a Naval simulation system, used for training of conning officers. The currently existing training solutions require multiple expert personnel to control each vessel in a training scenario, or are cumbersome to use by a single instructor. The inability of current technology to provide an automated mechanism for competitive realistic boat behaviors thus compromises the goal of flexible, anytime, anywhere training. In this article we propose an approach that reduces the time and effort required for training of conning officers, by integrating novel approaches to autonomous control within a simulation environment. Our solution is to develop intelligent, autonomous controllers that drive the behavior of each boat. To increase the system's efficiency we provide a mechanism for creating such controllers, from the demonstration of a navigation expert, using a simple programming interface. In addition, our approach deals with two significant and related challenges: the realism of behavior exhibited by the automated boats and their real-time response to changes in the environment. In this article, we describe the control architecture we developed that enables the real-time response of boats and the repertoire of realistic behaviors we designed for this application. We also present our approach for facilitating the automatic authoring of training scenarios and we demonstrate the capabilities of our system with experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-516
Number of pages20
JournalComputational Intelligence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • training systems
  • game artificial intelligence
  • autonomous agents
  • behavior-based control
  • simulations


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