Metal Shark and Sea Machines launch autonomous patrol boat
A month after announcing the world's first autonomous oil spill response vessel, Boston's Sea Machines Robotics has developed and launched the Sharktech 29 Defiant with shipbuilder Metal Shark.
"While many people still think of autonomous technology in future terms, it has already arrived," said Metal Shark's CEO Chris Allard. "Together with Sea Machines we’re bringing autonomy to market in a ready form that operators can buy today and run tomorrow."
The template for the autonomous boat is Metal Shark's 29 Defiant patrol boat, of which there are almost 400 in operation around the globe. As its name suggest, the vessel is 29 ft (8.8 m) long and features an aluminum hull and pilothouse. It has twin outboards for a top speed of over 45 knots and can be customized to specific mission profiles, though the Sharktech version is also being offered in a standard configuration to facilitate "near immediate delivery" to customers.
It comes with Sea Machines autonomous tech already aboard, which caters for manned, reduced-crew and unmanned missions to be undertaken. The SM300 autonomous control and monitoring system allows all onboard systems to be controlled through a wireless PC-based user interface. There's a joystick-packing remote too, and the vessel, systems and payload can be remote controlled by using a belt unit within a 1-2 km (up to 1.2 mi) range.
All of this means that operators don't need to be confined to the helm, or even on the Defiant at all – they could be directing the mission from a shore-based station or another vessel. Remote operators can see exactly what the Defiant is up to courtesy of a streaming video feed, ENC localization, radar, AIS tracking and live updates on environmental and deck machinery conditions.
The Sharktech 29 Defiant is available now to government and commercial operators under Metal Shark's stock boat program. The video below shows the vessel in action.
Source: Metal Shark