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USC partnership receives $9.2 million research contract

Staff Report //July 22, 2020//

USC partnership receives $9.2 million research contract

Staff Report //July 22, 2020//

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The University of South Carolina, in partnership with Navatek, has been awarded a $9.2 million contract for the research of power and energy systems and the development of digital twin prototypes.

Navatek is a provider of research and development services for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and other government agencies. 

Advanced power control systems will be developed to manage power resources on ships that use directed energy weapons such as lasers or missile defense radars. The program will conduct research into systems modeling and machine learning, as well as design and develop a first-of-its-kind digital twin of combat power and energy systems for the U.S. Navy, according to a news release from USC.

The project’s goal is to optimize a ship’s electrical system to meet critical needs with the help of semi- and fully autonomous decisions aids to be developed by Navatek and USC, according to the release.

The university will use its expertise in ship-scale power electronics and related systems to research, design, and test electrical power and device control system prototypes.

“We’re excited about this research partnership with Navatek and its potential to assist our nation’s military,” Bob Caslen, USC president, said in the release. “As a flagship institution with a tremendously talented group of researchers and students, we are uniquely positioned to help drive the kind of technological innovation that benefits our partners and the state’s economy.”

Navatek has hired 10 full-time scientists and engineers and four interns from USC and South Carolina State University at its new office in Columbia. Navatek intends to expand its presence in the state to 60 employees during the next 30 months, contingent on new contracts.

“Navatek is thrilled to lay roots in South Carolina and to formally partner with UofSC, a leader in power systems for the Navy,” Martin Kao, Navatek CEO, said. “Navatek’s initial capital investments have enabled us to open a permanent 10,000-square-foot office in Columbia. The office location is ideally co-located with our research partners and gives us the ability to recruit, hire, and retain graduates, and provide internships from both UofSC and SCSU.”

Founded in Hawaii in 1979, Navatek also has offices in Rhode Island, Maine, Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

“We are delighted to partner with Navatek on this groundbreaking project,” said Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of USC’s College of Engineering and Computing. “This is a very timely opportunity for UofSC to continue to lead the nation in the emerging field of Navy digital twin research, and to educate and train the next generation of innovators in this and related fields.”