Sea Machines Robotics is looking to take autonomous vehicles to the sea, retrofitting ships to be able to steer and navigate themselves.
Like what car manufacturers and tech giants are trying to do on land, this company is doing to ships. The company’s Sea Machines 300 its first autonomous control system that can be installed in work boats and which uses common vessel-based instruments along with proprietary algorithms. This allows the vessel to have some self awareness and be able to navigate on a course without crashing into obstacles.
According to a story in BGR, the system links to all on-board propulsion, steering, and thrust machinery, and a remote user interface is also provided for command and control as well as data reception.
“The company mission,” he says, “is to create autonomy so that operations can be more efficient and things can be safer. Our main objective is we’re creating a system that can serve as a backbone of decision-making for commercial ships. To be first minimally manned and then unmanned.”
Where can we see this technology in action? One area is in small utility boats where it can do simple tasks like data collection and surveys for underwater mapping. This could potentially allow for more precise mapping and surveying of reefs and fisheries. Another area is oil spill response.