The United Kingdom is launching a "fleet of marine robots" not only to test the new technologies, but also to "map marine life in a key fishing ground" in a "trial heralded as a new era of robotic research at sea."
Two of the craft are innovative British devices that are designed to operate for months using renewable sources of power including wind and wave energy.
Meanwhile, the United States Navy plans on deploying unmanned patrol boats, capable of leaving the warship they're protecting, in order to "swarm and attack potential threats on the water."
In the demonstrations, as many as 13 small unmanned patrol boats were escorting a high-value Navy ship. Then as many as eight of the self-guided vessels broke off and swarmed around a threat when a ship playing the part of an enemy vessel was detected, the office said, calling the demonstrations a success.
Robert Brizzolara, program manager at the Office of Naval Research, said that the boats can decide for themselves what movements to make once they're alerted to a threat and work together to encircle or block the path of an opposing vessel, depending on that vessel's movements and those of other nearby vessels.
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