URI College of Engineering, Navatek receive $3.8M contract for cyber-physical systems research

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Navatek LLC, a research-and-development services provider for government agencies, and the University of Rhode Island College of Engineering announced Tuesday that they were jointly awarded a $3.8 million contract from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to develop autonomous systems to combat threats to cyber-physical systems.

URI and Navatek said the program’s goal is to advance research of industrial internet of things resiliency in the face of physical and cyberattacks for shipbuilding and manufacturing. The project will also include developing autonomous systems that can quickly respond to attacks, artificial intelligence and digital twin concepts coupled with both hardware and software, the two entities said.

As a result, URI and Navatek said the research will help create procedures, devices and architectures to be used to retrofit existing or new manufacturing processes for the U.S. Navy. URI will also build a lab facility and develop for the project artificial-intelligence systems, the university and Navatek said.

“Navatek and URI will build on existing cyber-physical research, tailoring it to meet Navy requirements, for both shore-based and ship systems. With the growing cyber threats to our Navy’s systems and warfighters, Navatek is proud to partner with URI on this effort and hire new scientists and engineers to build on our critical mass of talent in South Kingstown,” Navatek CEO Martin Kao said in a statement Tuesday.

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In a statement, URI President David M. Dooley said the upcoming project is “exactly the kind of work” the university needs to be doing with Navatek, which is to help build a workforce in Rhode Island “that can develop innovative strategies to mitigate these cybersecurity and infrastructure system threats.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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