Much about the ship is classified, from details about the technology to exact applications in naval warfare. It keeps getting updated and adjusted to this day, and in January of this year, it made yet another milestone: Sea Hunter became the first ship to autonomously navigate from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and back without a single crew member aboard. Since the onboard AI is likely to be something that can be carried over to another ship, I assume that tests Sea Hunter is being upgraded.
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Opinion: Drone warship Sea Hunter of the U. Navy is powered by artificial intelligence. By Jurica Dujmovic.
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Related Topics Science and Technology. Because Sea Hunter is a lower-cost maritime platform, there is a presumption by many that if it is capable of operating on its own, the navy might be inclined to buy more of the vessels. However, before the navy considers procuring more of the USVs the service has a lot of work to do with understanding how Sea Hunter will fit into the fleet. It is a capability Sea Hunter, or any fully autonomous surface vehicle, must have.
Much of the early COLREGS testing involved the subject matter expert looking at the tracks and making a subjective judgement that not only did Sea Hunter behave in accordance with the rule, but whether it looked good in a more subjective way, Littlefield said. There is also a lot of analysis not only looking at the progress Sea Hunter makes, but trying to understand the COLREGS responses, both good and bad, and what went wrong and why it went wrong.
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Engineers then take that data and make software changes to fix the problems. They also have to go back and retest Sea Hunter to make sure that software changes have not introduced other problems, Littlefield added. The safety officer is stationed in a temporary operations control station TOCS : a small deckhouse that is bolted to Sea Hunter and can be removed once there is no longer a need for a human on board. Because Sea Hunter was not designed to sustain personnel, there is no galley, berthing, or bathrooms on board, making it a tough job to be at sea for 8—9 hours during testing, DeJaco said.
Setting up a COLREGS scenario requires a few basic things, Littlefield noted, for example, other craft crossing from the right, crossing from the left, and seeing if Sea Hunter will exhibit the correct behavior and follow the rules.
On a good day of testing, researchers can get about six of those done. Towards the aft is a dual railing, which DeJaco referred to as roof racks. ONR is looking at possible payloads for the USV, including those that could be tethered to the railings. There is also ample space on Sea Hunter to carry additional fuel and batteries for extended endurance.