Adm. Jonathan Greenert: ONR Develops ‘Swarmboats’ for Autonomous Warfighting

Adm. Jonathan Greenert
Adm. Jonathan Greenert

The Office of Naval Research has developed technology that works to utilize sensors for unmanned surface vehicles to swarm enemy vessels as they protect or escort U.S. Navy ships.

ONR said Sunday that the service tested the Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing system in a demonstration, where 13 autonomous or remotely controlled USVs swarmed and “overwhelmed” a simulated enemy ship.

“This multiplies combat power by allowing CARACaS-enabled boats to do some of the dangerous work,” said Robert Brizzolara, program manager at ONR.

“It will remove our sailors and Marines from many dangerous situations—for instance when they need to approach hostile or suspicious vessels. If an adversary were to fire on the USVs, no humans would be at risk.”

Smalley reports that ONR wants to apply the technology on a larger scale to include more USVs in the swarm or to unmanned aerial vehicles.

“This networking unmanned platforms demonstration was a cost-effective way to integrate many small, cheap and autonomous capabilities that can significantly improve our warfighting advantage,” added Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations.

ONR designed the “swarmboats” to operate autonomously by choosing their own routes or in sync with other USVs, the report said.

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