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Austal completes autonomy trials with former Royal Australian Navy patrol boat

24th April 2024 - 09:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The ship used was the former HMAS Maitland. (Photo: Austal)

The work took place under the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial (PBAT), which has been a collaboration between Austal, Greenroom Robotics, the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre and the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Warfare Innovation Navy Branch.

Australian ship builder Austal has completed autonomous and remote navigation sea acceptance trials (including endurance trials) of the former RAN Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Maitland under the collaborative PBAT project.

The trials consisted of a series of events conducted off the Western Australian coastline during March and April 2024 using Greenroom Robotics’ Advanced Maritime Autonomy (GAMA) software to navigate and control the ship, now christened Sentinel.

PBAT was formed as a collaboration to establish robotic, automated and autonomous elements on a former navy patrol boat and to provide a proof-of-concept demonstrator for optionally crewed or autonomous operations. The trial has also explored the legal, regulatory pathways and requirements of operating an autonomous vessel.

In 2022, Austal took possession of the decommissioned ship from the Commonwealth of Australia and commenced planning, modification, testing and evaluation of autonomous and remotely operated systems for the PBAT. At 57m, Sentinel has become the largest vessel operated in Australia to be operated remotely and autonomously.

Sentinel was extensively modified to enable remote and autonomous operations, including modifications to navigation, communications, bilges, CCTV and electrical systems. Sensors and computer units were also added by Greenroom Robotics to inform and host GAMA.

The core objectives of PABT have been to increase understanding of autonomous fuel management, communication and navigation systems; investigate and understand the sustained operation of shipboard mechanical systems; and provide input to long-term risk reduction for future naval projects.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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