UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Sea Machines demos C2 tech on-board autonomous skimmer

28th August 2019 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Sea Machines Robotics has carried out a demonstration of its autonomous control systems on board a Kvichak Marco skimmer boat in Portland harbour in Maine, the result of a cooperative agreement that the company has with the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Sea Machines says that it demonstrated its ability to provide systems that increase the safety, productivity and predictability of response for marine oil-spill operations, and the on-water demonstrations took place aboard a Vigor/Kvichak Marine Industries-built autonomous spill response vessel owned by Marine Spill Response Corp (MSRC).

This was carried out in front of a live audience including representatives from MARAD, the US government and environmental bodies, and industry.

From a shore-side location at Portland Yacht Services, a Sea Machines operator commanded the SM300-equipped skimmer boat to perform a number of activities.

These included: remote autonomous control from an onshore location or secondary vessel; autonomous way-point 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.

‘Our operation of the world's first autonomous, remote-commanded spill-response vessel is yet another significant industry first for Sea Machines,’ Michael Johnson, founder and CEO of Sea Machines, said. 

‘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.’

Sea Machines' ‘SM’ series of products, which includes the SM300 and SM200, provides marine operators with task-driven, computer-guided vessel control, bringing autonomy to small- and large-scale operations. 

SM products can be installed aboard existing or new-build commercial vessels with return on investment typically seen within a year, Sea Machines says.

The company also develops perception and navigation assistance technology for a range of vessel types including container ships, and is currently testing its perception and situational awareness technology aboard one of AP Moller-Maersk's new-build ice-class container ships.

Furthermore, in August 2018, Sea Machines demonstrated the capabilities of its SM300 product aboard an autonomous-command, remote-controlled fireboat owned by Tuco Marine during the Maritime Kulturdage event, in Korsør, Denmark.

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