Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | Updated at 12:35 AM ET


NAVY's Unmanned Ro-Boats Detect Intruders On Their Own

First Posted: Jan 09, 2017 11:35 AM EST

The US Navy's science and technology have sent four small boats on September 6 and October 3, 2016, for patrol missions in the lower Chesapeake Bay. These boats were autonomous robots which have infiltrated military operations from airborne surveillance, particularly to the ground-based missions.

 According to the Office of Naval Research, despite the advanced technology like the use of autonomous vehicles, the NAVY remains in control with the operations with the demand for robotic tech which is focused on conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the said robotic boats have not yet trickled to the aquatic operations.

These robot boats according to NAVY are getting smarter. Two years ago, 13 unmanned craft were sent off by the Office of Naval Research in the James River. The team was surprised how the crafts have detected threats and reacted to them without any human intervention.

Now, the ONR tested ro-boats will be tested with upgraded software on the Chesapeake Bay. The NAVY named this experiment as "Swarm 2" with a better description of "Hive Mind" The result of the demonstration was amazing. The small, human-free boats patrolled the harbor, detected intruders, and chased them away from the protected area.

According to Breaking Defense website, the NAVY first demonstrated the crafts in 2014. The task was to protect a single ship. The demonstration was successful which prove how useful the ro-boats to every mission they have.

The new mission has highlighted the progress that the boats have made. These missions are expanding the coverage area, improving tactical maneuvering, collaborating on strategy, and getting better at identifying hostile parties.

However, the hive-mind likeability for the robots is not the only advance technology this year. The software now includes a "behavior engine" that allows programmers to create patterns of action. Boats with the 2016 software have four patrols (an area), classify (a friendly vessel), track (contact with sensors), and trail (shadow a suspect vessel).

The evolved version of this technology is moving forward to more advanced missions like ship escort, mine clearance, over-the-horizon patrol and combat missions, and supply delivery.

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