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SEA MACHINES AND HIKE METAL TO DEVELOP AUTONOMOUS SAR

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics has formed a new partnership with Hike Metal, a manufacturer of workboats based in Ontario, Canada, to integrate Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomous vessel control system aboard commercial vessels tasked with search-and-rescue (SAR) missions.

The collaboration will help develop and demonstrate the capabilities of autonomous marine technology for the purposes of increasing the productivity and safety of SAR operations. Once installed, the SM300 will add the following new capabilities to Hike Metal’s vessels:

  • Autonomous SAR capability,
  • Data-driven waypoint following and mission planning,
  • Collaborative vessel operations,
  • Remote vessel and payload control,
  • Minimally manned and unmanned configurations, and
  • Obstacle avoidance.

Additionally, Sea Machines enables minimally manned and unmanned autonomous operations. Such configurations allow operators to respond to rescue events any time of the day or night, even when crews are unavailable or restricted.

Phase I demonstrations will begin this summer on Lake Erie, on board a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). The vessel will be outfitted with twin 200-HP engines, a remote-control Flir camera system, a heated survivor seating area, remote-control rescue cradles and extended-range fuel reserves.

“Response times are critical in the success of search-and-rescue missions, due to the limited survival time of victims who fall overboard and inherent risks to rescuers,” said Sea Machines' Don Black, vice president, sales and marketing. “Our technologies installed aboard responding vessels reduce response times and increase productivity of on-water search operations, improving safety for all involved. We are thrilled to partner with Hike Metal on such an important prototype that will help to modernize marine responses, save lives and recover critical property faster.”

“We have seen the need to increase response capabilities and also reduce the risk to first responders. We feel this technology and platform will be a valuable tool to all Coast Guard Societies around the world,” said Hike Metal's Roger Stanton, senior project manager. “We are very excited to be working with Sea Machines, a leader in autonomous technology for the marine environment.”

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