Autonomous vessel technology company Sea Machines Robotics has partnered with the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), and representatives of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD)’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) programme, to introduce education about autonomous marine systems into the MMA curriculum.
The Academy will provide instruction to cadets using MMA’s 41-ft Coast Guard cutter-class workboat R/V Quickwater, which is being outfitted with Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomous control system, and a shoreside command station located on campus.
MMA students will control the autonomous vessel in Maine’s Castine Harbour and surrounding areas from the shoreside station, to help them learn about autonomous systems and how they might impact the future of the commercial marine industry.
Project managers and students will also conduct measurements of the vessel’s emissions output to determine the efficiencies gained from digitally assisted manoeuvres, documenting differences among various engines, equipment and sea states. During these trials, participants will collect data about the vessel’s situational awareness and operational performance, predictability and safety during missions.
“The goal of this initiative is to expand Maine Maritime’s current research portfolio and to provide our students with the opportunity to gain education and training on new ‘smart vessel technology’,” said MMA’s Jennifer Norwood, Assistant Professor, Marine Transportation.
“The cutting-edge technology will enhance students’ awareness of and use of such systems, which are quickly entering the maritime industry.”
“In addition to supporting our students, we look forward to providing the META programme with the data it needs to understand how advanced marine technologies can impact maritime operations and sustainability.”