The U.S. Navy recently completed a successful test of its new anti-submarine autonomous trimaran. “Sea Hunter” is a 132-foot fully autonomous ship with trimaran “amas” on each side for stability.
The craft traveled successfully between San Diego, California, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Personnel boarded Sea Hunter a few times along the way to check propulsion and electical systems along the way.
The Navy manages the autonomous craft remotely, similar to the first autnomous commercial ferry. In this case, Navy personnel manage the ship remotely inside a 20-foot container that can deploy the container rapidly anywhere in the world. DARPA and Leidos designed the systems used by Sea Hunger. Leidos is a commercial organization working in civil, defense, health, and intelligence industries.
Sea Hunter can detect even the most sophisticated submarines and track them for thousands of miles. The ship acts as an autonomous drone that can detect and track submarines in even the deepest waters. AI algorithms help it navigate through traffic while following the “rules of the road” on the ocean.
Sea Hunter’s autonomous ability is based on technology from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory used in the Mars Exploration Rover mission. Testing with Sea Hunter will continue through 2019.
This is yet another milestone achievement in autonomous boating. While the systems are for military application, technology development using AI on the water is good for all autonomous boating.