As car and tech companies race to see who will be the first to release a fully autonomous vehicle for the public, Rolls-Royce has stated its current plan around developing self-driving boat.
The company has stated that the naval vessel will have the capacity of moving past the horizon for over one hundred days, with a 3,500 nautical-mile range. The vessel, 60 meters long, has been developed for single-role missions like surveillance and patrol, fleet screening, and mine detection.
Rolls-Royce GM of Naval Electronics, Automation and Control, Benjamin Thorp commented on the project stating that the company has received interest from major navies around autonomous ships. He goes on to state that they offer ways to deliver heightened capability around operation, decrease risks to crew members and reduce building and operating costs.
Rolls Royce advised that Thorp also stated that over the next decade, the company anticipates the introduction of unmanned, medium-sized platforms, especially when it comes to leading navies, as the idea around mixed unmanned and manned fleets arise. He added that with Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and experience, they expect to lead this industry area.
Much of the high-tech stuff required for self-driving ships are already in circulation. Rolls-Royce has stated that it has developed the first worldwide intelligent awareness system that runs on artificial intelligence to operate a ship without a human at the helm. Such a vessel would need far less crew members to help the ship operate without human intervention. The ship would thus operate more efficiently and safely. Much review has been done around cyber risks, to ensure the utmost security,Rolls-Royce enters the race when it comes to developing autonomous boats. YARA, a Norwegian fertilizer company is currently working on a self-driving boat that is electric, set for release in 2018.
Additionally, Startup Sea Machines Robotics has been conducting tests in the Boston Harbor on an autonomous vessel. Seems like Rolls-Royce is in good company and it will be interesting to see who will release their self-driving nautical vessel first.