#Innovidual Bob Touchton

September 15, 2017 Arin Karimian

We’re a company full of innovative individuals, or as we call them, #innoviduals. This bi-weekly series highlights some of our best and brightest employees, providing insights about the scope and depth of talent throughout Leidos.

This week's #innovidual is Bob Touchton, Chief Autonomy Scientist.

Tell us a little about your job role and responsibilities, and/or something you’re currently working on

“As the Autonomy Lead for the Maritime Systems Division, I provide thought leadership for autonomy solutions and architectures for the Division, and often across the company. I also serve as the Principal Investigator on certain internal and contract R&D projects. I am currently working on innovative approaches for introducing Collaborative Autonomy into the maritime and air domains to enable highly diverse teams, including both manned and unmanned assets, to conduct operations in radically new and more effective ways.”

Why is innovation important in your role?

“Innovation in the area of autonomy is important to our customers — primarily the U.S. military in my case — because autonomous systems can increase the effectiveness of warfighters while reducing their risk, relieve them from dull and dirty tasks, and introduce deployment models that save money while making them more nimble. Our innovation helps our military meet their objective of never engaging in a fair fight. Innovative autonomous solutions and associated expertise are also important to Leidos because it enables us to maintain a leadership position in an arena that could be as impactful as the industrial revolution.”  

What’s your definition of innovation? What does innovation mean to you?

“For me, innovation is action-oriented — I want to create technology solutions that do something valuable that either has never been done before or is done in some new fashion that makes it measurably better. For example, I recently led an effort to rapidly incorporate a new behavior into our established Maritime Autonomy Suite that is deployed on the Sea Hunter, a 132-foot autonomous ship built for DARPA. In just a few months, we went from conceptualization to demonstration of a fully autonomous, precision line-following prototype to support bathymetric surveys that fully leveraged our proven ability to follow and understand the maritime rules of the road (COLREGS). This accomplishment demonstrated not just a new capability but also the agility of our autonomy architecture and the prowess of our autonomy team.”

What does innovation look like?

“Mission accomplished, in some combination of: more safely, more effectively, and more economically.”

Meet more Leidos #innoviduals here

About

Arin Karimian

Arin is the Corporate Content Lead at Leidos. He creates and curates content across a wide range of topics -- familiar territory for someone who's worked in banking, health care, media, and the non-profit space.

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