Metal Shark and Sea Machines Launch Autonomous Boat Line

Mike Schuler
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September 24, 2019

Photo courtesy Metal Shark

Boston-based Sea Machines and U.S.-based shipbuilder Metal Shark have partnered on a new 29-foot autonomous vessel now being offered to government and commercial markets.

The boat, called the Sharktech 29 Defiant, is a welded aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel that uses Sea Machines autonomous technology for manned, reduced-crew or unmanned autonomous operations to deliver so-called “human-in-the-loop” navigation during both line-of-sight and over-the-horizon operations.

The autonomous package provides full a range of advanced capabilities including active control and collision avoidance, advanced mission planning, and situational awareness capabilities.

Sea Machines and Metal Shark recently commenced demos of the new platform and units are now available for acquisition by government and commercial operators through Metal Shark’s Metal Shark’s “Sharktech” autonomous division.

“We founded Sharktech in 2018 to streamline the customer’s path to autonomy by bridging the gap between the industry’s autonomous software developers and the traditional shipbuilder,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “Now, in conjunction with Sea Machines we have developed a turn-key autonomous production model to be kept in our regular stock rotation and available for near-immediate delivery.”

Sharktech 29 Defiant uses Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomous control and monitoring system that be commanded via a direct wireless PC-based user interface, an industrialized remote control with joystick, and an available belt-pack remote allows for control of the vessel within a 1- to 2-kilometer range.

“The system frees the operator from the helm to allow manned, technology-assisted control from anywhere onboard the vessel,” the companies said in a press release. “Alternately, when unmanned operations are required, the vessel and its onboard systems may be monitored and controlled via network connections from a shoreside station or second vessel. Local situational awareness is provided to the remote operator via streaming video, ENC localization, radar, AIS and live environmental and deck machinery condition feeds. The vessel may also be operated autonomously in traditional (manned) mode.”

A demonstration of the vessel can be viewed in the video below: 

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