Editor’s Note: Many futurists see the coming decade as the real dawn of the age of robotics and autonomous systems. This post from “Maritime Executive” seems to reinforce that.  It should also remind everyone how navigation is an invisible utility for all of these systems and, while Mother Nature has given us five senses to find our way through the world, often our technology is limited by having just one or two, none of which are as robust as ours. Small wonder that navigation failure is a leading, if not the leading cause of loss. 

(By the way, when will we stop calling these things by what they are not? When they were finally accepted by society we gave up ‘horseless carriage’ for ‘automobile.’ I expect that one sign of system maturity will be when we stop calling these things ‘unmanned.’)

By MarEx 2016-10-10 18:44:29

This week, the world’s largest exercise for unmanned vehicles in the marine environment begins in waters off north-west Scotland. Unmanned Warrior 2016 is the first ever event of its kind, and the UK Navy has invited over forty government and research organizations to participate.

The United States Navy’s Office of Naval Research is a major contributor to the event. ONR will use UW16 as an opportunity to test 10 technologies, including the Lidar package for its SeaHunter unmanned aerial vehicle, a new shore perimeter security system, and an array of mine countermeasures systems.

“These systems can help protect our Sailors and Marines from some of the Navy’s dull, dirty and dangerous missions, like mine countermeasures . . . Additionally, these systems can increase our capabilities at a more affordable cost of the conventional systems we currently employ,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter. “Autonomy will enable our naval forces to stay longer, see farther, understand more, decide faster, do more, adapt more quickly and when necessary be more lethal.”


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