The Navy Ship That Doesn't Need a Crew

Posted by Kyle Brookings on Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Sea Hunter
Meet the U.S. Navy ship that is capable of carrying out missions without a crew.

The Sea Hunter is an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle that was launched in 2016.

A removable operator control station is installed during the testing period "for safety and backup" until it can be determined to reliably operate on its own. Operationally, computers will drive and control the ship, with a human always observing and taking charge if necessary in a concept called Sparse Supervisory Control, meaning a person is in control, but not "joy sticking" the vessel around.

It can patrol without human guidance, using optical guidance and radar to avoid hitting obstacles or other watercraft.

Following successful initial development, it was reported on 1 February 2018 that DARPA had handed development of Sea Hunter to the Office of Naval Research.

The Team

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