NSW Center, Dahlgren, Virginia- There are a lot of different types of vessels in the US Navy. There are big ships, small boats, and all types in between, but until recently there was not one that drove itself.
Enter the new Autonomous Marine Unmanned Surface Vehicle- AMN USV for brevity. It is a boat that literally has the ability to drive itself. It has been in the works for a little more than ten years, and now is entering a testing phase to shake out all the kinks.
Like all new systems, both active or passive, it takes a period of intense testing and field adjustment to make sure that new projects are ready for service. But with the new craft, all systems go, at least so far. ?We are just working at a goal, not using a defined script,? said Eric Hansen.
Mr. Hanson is part of the Combatant Craft Department at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia. The ?self piloted boat,? has been a concept under development for several years, and it is a joint effort between Spatial Integrated Systems and the Naval Special Warfare Center.
The vessel is not remote control, it has its own sensors, its own eyes and logic circuits, in essence its own ?brain? to sense and react to what it is around. The current task: Patrolling a area off a beach at Fort Monroe, in a water area measuring 0.8 x 0.45 nautical miles.
It?s a brisk and innovative idea. Right now, its operators ride along, and release the controls to the boat, and sit back ready to take over if any problems crop up. Eventually the plan is to not have human personnel on board at all.