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AUTONOMOUS WORKBOAT DEMONSTRATED IN US HARBOUR

Thursday, August 22, 2019 

Boston, US, based Sea Machines Robotics has successfully demonstrated its autonomous systems in action on board a Kvichak Marco skimmer boat during events held in Portland harbour.

Sea Machines says its technology opens a new era of capability for the marine industry, such as the ability to increase safety, productivity and predictability of response to marine oil-spill operations. The on-water demonstrations took place onboard a skimmer boat, owned by Marine Spill Response Corp. (MSRC), before a live audience of US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), government, naval, international, environmental and industry representatives.

From a shoreside location, a Sea Machines operator commanded the SM300-equipped skimmer boat to perform the following capabilities:

  • Remote autonomous control from an onshore location or secondary vessel,
  • ENC-based mission planning,
  • Autonomous waypoint tracking,
  • Autonomous grid line tracking,
  • Collaborative autonomy for multi-vessel operations, and
  • Wireless, remote payload control to deploy on-board boom, skimmer belt and other response equipment.

Additionally, Sea Machines discussed how to operate the skimmer in an unmanned autonomous mode, which enables operators to respond to spill events 24/7 depending on recovery conditions, even when crews are restricted. These configurations reduce or eliminate exposure of crewmembers to challenging sea and weather, toxic fumes and other safety hazards.

“Our operation of the world’s first autonomous, remote-commanded spill-response vessel is yet another significant industry first for Sea Machines,” said Michael G. Johnson, founder and CEO, Sea Machines. “But even more important is the fact that we’ve proven that our technology can be applied to the marine spill response industry – as well as other marine sectors – to protect the health and lives of mariners responding to spills. We are proud to support MSRC’s mission of response preparedness and to work alongside MARAD for these important demonstrations.”

"This is the future of the maritime industry. It’s safer, it’s faster, it’s more cost-effective,” said Richard Balzano, deputy administrator, MARAD. “This technology is here and it will make you a believer. We are here because we want to help the maritime industry evolve. It’s about safety, the environment and reducing risk on the water.”

Sea Machines’ SM Series of products, offering task-driven, computer-guided vessel control, are claimed to bring advanced autonomy within reach for small- and large-scale operations. Sea Machines is also a leading developer of advanced perception and navigation assistance technology for a range of vessel types, including container ships. The company is currently testing its perception and situational awareness technology aboard one of AP Moller-Maersk’s new-build ice-class container ships.

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