Autonomous vessel tested in Portland

Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics has announced that it has successfully demonstrated its autonomous vessel systems in action on board a Kvichak Marco skimmer boat during an event in Portland harbour, carried out as part of the company’s cooperative agreement with the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD).

The on-water demonstrations took place aboard the world’s first autonomous spill response vessel – a Vigor/Kvichak Marine Industries-built skimmer boat, owned by Marine Spill Response Corp (MSRC) – before a live audience in Portland.

From shore, a Sea Machines operator commanded the vessel, equipped with Sea Machines’ SM-300 autonomous operations system, to perform functions such as autonomous waypoint tracking and grid line tracking, ENC-based mission planning, and collaborative multi-vessel operations.

The on-shore operator also had wireless remote payload control to deploy the onboard boom, skimmer belt and other response equipment during the tests.

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

“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.”