U.S. shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries conducted demonstration tests for its new unmanned surface vessel. Autonomous and unmanned applications are drawing broad attention both from navies around the world but also for their potential in a range of commercial operations.
The tests and demonstrations were conducted on a 27-foot vessel the Proteus USV. The vessel was outfitted with Sea Machines Robotics’ SM300 autonomy system. The demonstration voyages were completed a week ago off the coast of Panama City, Florida. The SM300 system is designed for ocean-capable vessels to enable scalable autonomy, from remotely controlled to fully autonomous vessel operations.
“The vessel performed exactly as expected with the SM300 system’s proven and safe autonomous capability,” said Duane Fotheringham, president of the Unmanned Systems business group in HII’s Technical Solutions division. “This marks a significant milestone in our commitment to advancing our unmanned systems capabilities and our continued partnership with Sea Machines to further develop USV solutions for our customers.”
For the demonstration, Proteus USV was equipped with commercial perception sensors, including GPS, automatic identification system, depth transducer, radar, and a camera enabling a 360-degree field of view. A separate 51-foot dive boat was deployed alongside during the demonstration which sought to test the capacities of the SM300 system, including its obstacle avoidance capability and adherence to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
“Our autonomy systems are built around core principles of capability, reliability, and ease of use,” Sea Machines CEO Michael G. Johnson said. “This initial Proteus USV demonstration proved the SM300 system performs as promised, and we look forward to our continued partnership with HII.”
Hunting said that it is continuing to develop autonomy capabilities and sensor fusion to support the evolving needs of both government and commercial customers. Hunting made a majority investment in Sea Machines in July 2020.