Home : Our Work : Areas of Research : Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial Intelligence




The Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence (NCARAI) has been involved in both basic and applied research in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, autonomy, and human-centered computing since its inception in 1981. NCARAI, part of the Information Technology Division within the Naval Research Laboratory, is engaged in research and development efforts designed to address the application of artificial intelligence technology and techniques to critical Navy and national problems.



Core Capabilities 

The NCARAI has active research groups in several research sections, including Adaptive Systems, Intelligent Systems, Interactive Systems, and the Perceptual Systems section. While NCARAI is organized into discrete sections, much of the work is interdisciplinary and scientists across these sections work together on research projects.

  • Adaptive Systems - Conducts state-of-the-art basic and applied research in machine learning, autonomous systems, and mobile robotics. Applications include autonomous vehicles (including underwater, surface, ground, and air vehicles, and mobile robots), intelligent decision aids, lessons learned systems, and command and control systems.
  • Intelligent Systems - Performs state-of-the-art research in cognitive science, cognitive robotics and human-robot interaction, predicting and preventing procedural errors, the cognition of complex visualizations, interruptions and resumptions, and spatial cognition. The emphasis is on cognitive approaches to enabling more intelligent systems that are able to work more effectively with people.
  • Interactive Systems - Develops and enhances computer interfaces for autonomous and intelligent systems, spanning human-computer and human-robot interactions. The group is specifically interested in linking natural language to other modes of computer interaction, such as human gestures, touch-screen and other graphical modes of human-machine interaction. Examples include linguistic analysis of texts and spoken dialog, auditory analysis, and phonological analysis of languages and dialects for accent identification.
  • Perceptual Systems - Examines issues related to both passive and active sensors required to support autonomous systems. This includes sensors that support autonomous platform navigation, scene interpretation, and teamwork. Techniques include both passive monocular vision, and passive and active stereo and triocular ranging methods, along with algorithms to rapidly interpret the scene.


NRL is a controlled-access facility. Per Department of the Navy and NRL policy, we do not offer public tours or visits to our facilities. Prior arrangements must be made with an NRL point of contact before visiting the Laboratory. Unless otherwise instructed by your NRL host, visitors must check in at the NRL Visitor Center located just outside the Laboratory's front gate. You will not be admitted without proper photo identification. Visits by foreign nationals require special processing.

  • Robotics and Autonomous Systems Laboratory - Provides an environment for developing and evaluating intelligent software for both actual and simulated autonomous vehicles. Laboratory computers provide a simulated environment for testing intelligent algorithms for land, air, and sea vehicles. The laboratory’s several types of indoor and outdoor robot platforms serve as a testbed for robotics applications. The mobile robots are also available as test platforms for sensors, interfaces, and other technologies being developed by groups within NRL.
  • Audio Laboratory - This facility provides rendering and analysis of complex sound for military applications. Our rendering systems include a 28 speaker array arranged in 5 rings within a space that is deadened by 16 RPG Diffuser VariScreens. This allows realistic audio environments using pre-recorded or synthesized sound. The lab also includes a 100 square-foot double walled booth from Industrial Acoustics Company for experiments that need high levels of acoustic isolation. The lab includes wireless transmitters and receivers including a prototype battlefield acoustic sensor.
  • Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research - NRL's Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR), provides specialized facilities to support highly innovative, multidisciplinary research in autonomous systems, including intelligent autonomy, sensor systems, power and energy systems, human-system interaction, networking and communications, and platforms. The Laboratory provides unique facilities and simulated environments (littoral, desert, tropical) and instrumented reconfigurable high bay spaces to support integration of science and technology components into research prototype systems.