Use of agent-based models in support of coastal surveillance planning and assessment – Testing the map aware non-uniform automata (MANA) model


  1. Dobias, P.
  2. Eisler, C.
  3. Liu, M.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Modeling of surveillance capabilities can be challenging due to a number of factors, such as sensor and platform characteristics, the physical environment, and target properties (e.g., size, reflective properties). In certain situations, quick turnaround approximate analysis rather than detailed modeling and simulation may be desired. One possible approach is to use agent-based models (ABM) which, due to their level of abstraction, are generally suited for rudimentary approximation of real scenarios. One such ABM, Map-Aware Non-uniform Automata (MANA), was developed by the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency (NZDTA). ABMs are characterized by the use of abstracted autonomous entities that behave in accordance with pre-defined heuristics, capturing nonlinear dynamics inherent in real, multi-scale, multi-actor situations. The viability of MANA for maritime surveillance modeling was evaluated. The assessment was performed in two steps. First, an assessment matrix evaluating the surveillance modeling capabilities against a notional perfect model was developed. MANA Version 4 (which utilizes a cellular automata-based spatial representation) was evaluated against this matrix, where it achieved almost 50% compliance. Second, a set of three surveillance vignettes testing the reliability and practicality of MANA’s modeling capabilities was conceived; these three vignettes were implemented in MANA and a number of test runs were conducted. The results were then assessed for realism

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

agent-based modeling;maritime domain awareness;surveillance;capability based assessment;evaluation matrix
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-R016 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jan 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

Permanent link

Document 1 of 1

Date modified: