Oceans Technologies: Breakthroughs, Challenges, and Opportunities for Security and Stewardship

Plenary II

Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Time: 10:00 – 11:10am

Location: VBCC – L1 Ballroom 2/3


Panel Chair: Jerry Cronin – OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub @ Old Dominion University

Panel Coordinators: Mr. Jerry Cronin (ODU), Ms. Sonja Smith (NAVSEA WC)

Moderator: Mr. Jerry Cronin – ODU

Panelist 1: Military – Dr. Tory Cobb – Office of Naval Research – Artificial Intelligence

Panelist 2: Military – Dr. Josh Weaver – Naval Sea Systems Command – Unmanned Systems

Panelist 3: Academia – Dr. Eric Terrill – Scripps Institution of Oceanography – Ocean Exploration

Panelist 4: Industry – Mr. James Fisher – FUGRO Offshore Wind COE – Industry Adoption of Technologies

Technology has been a primary driver of the ocean-human relationship since the dawn of time. Each new challenge has led to the development of new science, technology, and ways of doing business. Today’s world is no different.

The challenges of protecting natural and national resources continue to present opportunities for researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and organizations to solve problems and create new value for the world. This session will look at what’s new, what’s on the horizon, and where opportunities lie for innovative solutions.

Moderator: Jerry Cronin, Executive Director, OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub at Old Dominion University

Jerry Cronin leads OpenSeas at ODU, a globally engaged innovation hub focused on maritime and coastal issues whose mission is to work with entrepreneurs, industries, organizations, and communities to: Identify “Difficult” and “Intractable” problems; Discover and de-risk innovative solutions; and, Develop and deploy high-growth, scalable businesses into the global marketplace. OpenSeas works broadly across the maritime and blue economy domain.

Jerry draws upon broad and diverse experience which spans commercial and government work in both domestic and international settings. As a Coast Guard officer, he served as a shipboard operations officer, and was instrumental in redesigning the service’s maritime law enforcement training. He participated in business start-ups related to consulting and environmental regulatory compliance. He developed and ran the commercial and civil government practice at a Fortune 150 center of excellence and was a corporate go-to solutions architect for major business pursuits across a variety of business sectors. He provides mentorship and consulting to companies and organizations in both the US and globally. Most recently he was an invited speaker at The Economist Ocean Tech & Innovation Conference.

Dr. Eric Terrill, Ph.D., Director, Marine Physical Laboratory

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Marine Physical Laboratory is one of the four original Navy-University Applied Research Laboratories established in World War II and remains an active member of the naval research enterprise. Eric is an oceanographer with 28 years of sea-going experience associated with basic and applied research programs. He works with engineers, data analysts, and ocean scientists to conduct naval relevant research. He is actively involved in the development and application of new marine technologies.

Dr. Terrill has a B.S. engineering degree (Applied Mechanics and Engineering sciences) from the University of California, San Diego and a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography-Applied Ocean Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Early in his career he was selected to receive a 3 year ONR Young Investigator Fellowship to recognize his naval-relevant research. In addition, Dr. Terrill has served on transition and government review teams for the Navy; Federal Advisory committees for NOAA; and, has twice provided congressional testimony on matters associated with emerging ocean technologies for maritime domain awareness.

He is also co-founder of Project Recover, a private-public collaborative which conducts global searches using robotic systems and historical intelligence analysis to locate WWII-era aircraft crash sites for reporting to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.  Dr. Terrill has 34 years diving and undersea experience.



Dr. Josh Weaver, Naval Sea Systems Command, Unmanned Systems

Dr. Joshua Weaver serves as the Senior Scientist for Autonomy at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD). Dr. Weaver received his B.S in Electrical Engineering from Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). Since graduating in 2014, he has been the principal investigator on multiple unmanned systems projects that focused on developing autonomy architectures, behaviors, world model tools, and perception algorithms. He supports the Office of Naval Research Code 32 autonomy portfolio as well as uncrewed underwater vehicle developments with program offices PMS-406 and PMS 408. Additionally, Dr. Weaver collaborates with the international community as the Uncrewed Maritime Systems (UMS) Key Technology Area (KTA) lead for The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) and has taken part in multiple international exercises. His current area of research is on long duration and fault tolerant autonomy.


Dr. Tory Cobb,  Office of Naval Research – Artificial Intelligence

Dr. James “Tory” Cobb is a Program Officer at the Office of Naval (ONR) Research, Code 32 and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Senior Technologist for Advanced Signal Processing and Automation in Mine Warfare.  Since 2001, he has been employed as a researcher at NSWC PCD.  Prior to his current position he was the senior scientist assigned to the Advanced Signal Processing and ATR Branch, serving as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator for various automatic target recognition and sensor fusion projects funded by the Office of Naval Research.

In his current role at ONR he seeks to improve underwater unmanned systems perception by conducting fundamental and applied research in machine learning, sensing, and signal/image processing.


James Fisher, FUGRO Offshore Wind COE – Industry Adoption of Technologies

James Fisher has over 14 years of professional experience with marine infrastructure projects involving geoscience and geotechnical engineering. His project experience includes offshore renewable (wind) energy industry, oil and gas industry, and transportation/infrastructure industry at the global level, with completed projects in Australia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe, South America, and US Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific OCS. He has lead multiple integrated geophysical and geotechnical projects for offshore developments, including site investigations and characterizations, geohazard assessments, ground model development, and geological studies. James earned his M.S. Engineering Geology from Kent State University (Kent, Ohio), and a B.S. Geophysics from SUNY Fredonia (Fredonia, New York).