Robot Boats Leave Autonomous Cars in Their Wake

If you live in California or Florida and are even remotely interested in navigating navigating a vessel during bad weather, then don’t count out life saving robots from saving you and your crew’s lives. Without a doubt, this could be a game changer for the nation.

It’s been said that robots could totally solve any problem and this is certainly the case here. After all, robots can not only help people do a task, but they also do it with a significant amount of accuracy. This could happen sooner than you think. Here’s how it works.

On March 13, 2015, a remotely operated, autonomous Underwater Helicopter, named Wallace robot made its inaugural successful ocean flight. The robot was towed down the Pacific Ocean by the autonomous undersea vehicle Echo Sea, operated by the Ocean Shield, a part of the US Coast Guard. Wallace blasted open the submersible “boat” to and then placed its landing gear underneath the undersea boat, resulting in a controlled vertical landing by Echo Sea.

The experiment marked the first time an autonomous system operated autonomously and deployed autonomous waypoints around on a submersible, ferrying it along beneath the deep ocean canvas and enabling it to depart from shore autonomously.

The findings of this study will shed light on the way autonomous robot can seamlessly perform a relatively complex task that can allow a resupply, inspection, or salvage mission to occur autonomously. This study also shows the importance of a remotely operated, autonomous Underwater Helicopter (URAH) capable of landing on an undersea vessel.

This is great news for this nation because autonomous robots could solve the water and temperature challenges that make most manned ships a bit more difficult to operate in the harsh Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, or Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. There are more than 200 different factors and sea conditions that could impact an autonomous robot’s performance.

To safely and quickly de-board, load, load and unpair an autonomous UAH, it would require a Teton entry rate of >1000 feet per minute, with most elements of the ocean carrying high levels of man-made pollution and other unwanted materials. The effects of swell, wave, and tide, as well as the myriad other unpredictable marine weather conditions, make the missions very difficult to navigate autonomously.

But all of that could change if we had autonomous robot UAH systems in operation. By the middle of this century, most or all manned Navy aircraft carriers, destroyers, destroyers and submarines will eventually be autonomous. With that looming technical challenge on the horizon, we could use unmanned robotic UAH systems. In one of the most advanced examples of autonomous ROVs — unmanned underwater vehicles — various research groups use in remote areas, are fully autonomous as well as low-cost, relatively easy to maintain, robust and fast to deploy.

It’s worth noting that manned submarines (and even many dinghies) were once in essence, all onboard boats that navigated by GPS. So imagine the potential for robotic UAH systems to serve as the electronic brains of an entire ship’s operations. Imagine all sorts of untested, challenging operations that would be done by these remote-controlled robots, which could be controlled by a single human who might live remotely from shore and even travel the oceans itself.

That’s something that a lot of people will be interested in finding out. There is also much speculation about autonomous robots operating independently in different oceans around the world. There has been some talk about autonomous robots working together in a four-way communication network, making them even faster and more effective, they already use several autonomous systems.

So if you are a United States Navy, Cold War military, or nuclear power seeking a fast, easy, inexpensive way to keep the hard working crew members safe at sea, consider these kinds of unmanned robots. They are a potential game changer for our safety and American power around the world.

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