Autonomous ocean barge fuelling stations to be trialled by US government

Autonomous vessel systems company Sea Machines Robotics has won another contract with US authorities to supply its technologies to an unmanned ocean-service barge project, to test the viability of running remote and computer-controlled fuelling stations at sea.

The agreement with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) within the US Department of Defense (DOD) will see Sea Machines’ systems included in prototype barges that can be used as autonomous Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) units for an Amphibious Maritime Projection Platform (AMPP), which aim to provide a scaled fuelling station for aircraft, surface vessels and shore replenishment. 

Sea Machines will engineer, build and demonstrate ready-to-deploy system kits to support the autonomous operation of the barges. The kits will include SM300 autonomous command and control systems, barge propulsion, sensing, positioning, communications and refuelling equipment, as well as items required for global deployment.

The contract includes a concept demonstration phase, with an option for following phases to deploy Operational Kits, which would provide shoreside operators with remote situational awareness and command and control of the vessel and its operating systems.

The live concept demonstration is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020, in Washington state, for which Sea Machines will partner with Seattle-based FOSS Maritime.

This new contract follows on from an announcement last week that Sea Machines’ systems would be installed on a US Coast Guard (USCG) Research and Development Center (RDC) vessel to test the potential application of autonomous technologies.

Share this story

About the Author

Picture of Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Further Reading

News Archive