US Navy wants robot ships to talk

Turn Left and Follow Me!

Concerned that the advent of unmanned surface ships can result in collisions with manned vessels, the Navy wants technology that will enable robot ships that talk like humans…The goal is to enable human bridge crews to converse with robot ships using normal speech over VHF radio.

“The nautical rules of the road (COLREGS) provide clear guidance for encounters between two vessels, but they do not directly specify what should happen when three or more vessels come in close proximity to each other at nearly the same time,”…“Mariners commonly deal with such situations by communicating via VHF Bridge-to-Bridge radio. Current Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) have COLREGS reasoning engines, but they cannot incorporate information from Bridge-to-Bridge conversations, nor can they reply to simple maneuver proposals.”

“The Navy seeks an integrated solution that will enable a USV to act much like a human mariner,”…“In particular, the USV should be able to understand secure Bridge-to-Bridge radio transmissions, incorporate their meaning into its world model, develop appropriate maneuvering plans, and respond via voice on the Bridge-to-Bridge radio.”

Well, duh! Of course.

Maersk trials drone delivery to ship at sea

Click to enlargePhoto/Maersk Tankers

Maersk Tankers says that it has completed the first drone delivery to a vessel at sea as part of a test to see whether or not drones can become a part of the supply chain.

The company says the test delivery took place near Kalundborg in Denmark and involved a drone dropping a small parcel to one of its tankers. Due to weather, the drone could not be launch from shore as planned, but rather was launched from a nearby tugboat, which dropped the package from a height of 5 meters above deck.

Maersk Tankers is hopeful that the by using drones it can significantly reduce the cost of delivery of small parcels filled with urgent spare parts, mail or medicine, when compared to using traditional methods of delivery

The usual CYA-statements are included, e.g., safety, security, blah, blah. Actually, there are beaucoup uses for these wee flying robots at sea. Surely a better way to carry a line from ship-to-ship than anything that uses gunpowder. 🙂