Author Topic: Who needs sailors anyway?  (Read 21455 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Who needs sailors anyway?
« on: April 08, 2016, 14:16:37 »

Quote
The autonomous ship "Sea Hunter"docked in Portland, Oregon, after its christening ceremony CREDIT: STEVE DIPAOLA/REUTERS

Quote
US military launches self-piloting ship

 Reuters
7 APRIL 2016 • 9:21PM

The US military on Thursday christened an experimental self-piloting ship designed to hunt for enemy submarines, a major advance in robotic warfare at the core of America's strategy to counter Chinese and Russian naval investments.

The 132-foot-long unarmed prototype, dubbed Sea Hunter, is the naval equivalent of Google's self-driving car, designed to cruise on the ocean's surface for two or three months at a time - without a crew or anyone controlling it remotely.

That kind of endurance and autonomy could make it a highly efficient submarine stalker at a fraction of the cost of the Navy's manned vessels.

"This is an inflection point," Deputy US Defense Secretary Robert Work said in an interview, adding he hoped such ships might find a place in the western Pacific in as few as five years.

"This is the first time we've ever had a totally robotic, trans-oceanic-capable ship."

For Pentagon planners such as Work, the Sea Hunter fits into a strategy to incorporate unmanned drones - with increasing autonomy - into the conventional military in the air, on land and at sea.

It also comes as China's naval investments, including in its expanding submarine fleet, stoke concern in Washington about the vulnerability of the aircraft carrier battle groups and submarines that remain critical to America's military superiority in the western Pacific.

"We're not working on anti-submarine (technology) just because we think it's cool. We're working on it because we're deeply concerned about the advancements that China and Russia are making in this space," said author Peter Singer, an expert on robotic warfare at the New America Foundation think tank.

Work said he hoped the ship, once it is proven safe, could head to the US Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet to continue testing. His goal is to have ships like the Sea Hunter operating on a range of missions, possibly even including counter-mine warfare operations.

"I would like to see unmanned flotillas operating in the western Pacific and the Persian Gulf within five years," he said.

The ship's projected $20 million price tag and its $15,000 to $20,000 daily operating cost make it relatively inexpensive for the U.S. military.

"You now have an asset at a fraction of the cost of a manned platform," said Rear Admiral Robert Girrier, the Navy's director of unmanned warfare systems.

Developed by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the ship is about to undergo two years of testing, including to verify that it can safely follow international norms for operating at sea.

First and foremost is ensuring that it can use radar and cameras to avoid other vessels. Powered by two diesel engines, the ship can reach speeds of 27 knots.

The advent of increasingly autonomous ships and aircraft is stoking concern among some experts and activists about armed robotic systems that could identify people as threats and kill them.

Work stressed that even if the United States one day decides to arm robotic naval systems such as Sea Hunter, any decision to use offensive lethal force would be made by humans.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/04/07/us-military-launches-self-piloting-ship/
 >:D
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Offline ModlrMike

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2016, 14:23:20 »
More remote sensor vessel than ship to my mind.
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 14:31:01 »
Cannon foder with an off-board jammer role potential... I like it.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2016, 14:41:12 »
I agree, ModlrMike.

First of all, it seems to be remotely piloted, more like a drone, than self driving like the Google car mentioned*. 

Looks to me to be remotely operated replacement of the old USNS "tuna boats" of the cold war. They will drag towed array sonars and report findings for prosecution by either surface ships, air assets or submarines.

*: It is far easier to make a self driving boat than car: the lanes to follow are a lot less stringent, all you have to do is stay in the white/beige portion of the electronic nautical charts. And collision avoidance is just a set up on the radar warning system: at "x" miles, if target has CPA of less than "a", then turn/slow down as appropriate to open CPA to "b" value. Of course you will still have a few occasional screw ups, as many small things at sea don't show up on radar, but it won't be any worse than the occasional solo sailor whose sailboat has been run over by a merchant ship that didn't see him in mid-ocean.  ;D

Offline cupper

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 15:03:56 »
First of all, it seems to be remotely piloted, more like a drone, than self driving like the Google car mentioned*. 
Looks to me to be remotely operated replacement of the old USNS "tuna boats" of the cold war.

But the article says that they are completely autonomous, no one remotely controlling it.

Quote
US military launches self-piloting ship

 Reuters
7 APRIL 2016 • 9:21PM

The US military on Thursday christened an experimental self-piloting ship designed to hunt for enemy submarines, a major advance in robotic warfare at the core of America's strategy to counter Chinese and Russian naval investments.

The 132-foot-long unarmed prototype, dubbed Sea Hunter, is the naval equivalent of Google's self-driving car, designed to cruise on the ocean's surface for two or three months at a time - without a crew or anyone controlling it remotely.

That kind of endurance and autonomy could make it a highly efficient submarine stalker at a fraction of the cost of the Navy's manned vessels.

"This is an inflection point," Deputy US Defense Secretary Robert Work said in an interview, adding he hoped such ships might find a place in the western Pacific in as few as five years.

"This is the first time we've ever had a totally robotic, trans-oceanic-capable ship."

For Pentagon planners such as Work, the Sea Hunter fits into a strategy to incorporate unmanned drones - with increasing autonomy - into the conventional military in the air, on land and at sea.

Not entirely sure that the world needs more sailors with more free time on their hands. I think I'd rather have Donald Trump as President. >:D
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 15:06:29 by cupper »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2016, 15:06:36 »
Same way I read it cupper.

CTF 2030

Huitfeldt
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 15:33:12 »
I was thinking more about the anti-submarine detection portion of the job when I put it in the remotely piloted category.

The cruising around can be completely autonomous, once you assigned the "drone" ship a particular area to go and patrol, but ASW detection, classification and tracking will need the human touch for the foreseeable future. There is just too much intuition still required in order to figure out where to go andwhat to do next to best foil the efforts of a submarine, and the on board computer could not begin to do detection and recognition as fast as good sonar man. Even onboard ship's a nd submarines, the good ones can distinguish things on their headphones faster than the sonar equipment can classify and detect  ;D.

Finally, I wonder what happens if it gets pursued, then boarded and taken as prize by the ocean's equivalent of the Ferengi!

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2016, 15:40:53 »
I was thinking more about the anti-submarine detection portion of the job when I put it in the remotely piloted category.

The cruising around can be completely autonomous, once you assigned the "drone" ship a particular area to go and patrol, but ASW detection, classification and tracking will need the human touch for the foreseeable future. There is just too much intuition still required in order to figure out where to go andwhat to do next to best foil the efforts of a submarine, and the on board computer could not begin to do detection and recognition as fast as good sonar man. Even onboard ship's a nd submarines, the good ones can distinguish things on their headphones faster than the sonar equipment can classify and detect  ;D.

Radio comms.

Finally, I wonder what happens if it gets pursued, then boarded and taken as prize by the ocean's equivalent of the Ferengi!

Sink the bugger!  It's only a ship.   [:D
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2016, 16:50:16 »
I agree, ModlrMike.

First of all, it seems to be remotely piloted, more like a drone, than self driving like the Google car mentioned*. 


Technically speaking, something that is remotely piloted isn't a drone.  Drone means 'pre-programmed', fire and forget...despite the misuse of the term drone nowadays thanks to...the media. 
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2016, 17:16:23 »
Technically speaking, something that is remotely piloted isn't a drone.  Drone means 'pre-programmed', fire and forget...despite the misuse of the term drone nowadays thanks to...the media.

My understanding of the terms goes something like this:

A drone follows a pre-planned course, going from way-point to way-point, and if an unforeseen obstacle crosses its path it crashes.

A remotely piloted vehicle flies where the pilot wants it to go, second by second, and if an unforeseen obstacle crosses its path the pilot has the opportunity to manoeuvre around it.

An autonomous vehicle follows a pre-planned course, that can be remotely updated, going from way-point to way-point, and if an unforeseen obstacle crosses its path it has sufficient situational awareness to take evasive action on its own prior to returning to its previously scheduled course.

My understanding of these vessels are that they are autonomous and do not require a man-in-the-loop.  If they were armed then presumably the armaments would require a man-in-the-loop at some point in the decision cycle - even if just to declare "weapons free".
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 19:28:56 »
Further to this story:

Autonomous, 27 knots.

Quote
During the testing phase, the ship will have human operators as a safety net, but once it proves to be reliable, the autonomous surface vessel will manoeuvre itself — able to go out at sea for months at a time.

Program manager Scott Littlefield said there will be no “remote-controlled driving of the vessel,” instead it will be given its mission-level commands telling it where to go and what to accomplish and then software will enable it to drive itself safely.

The military initially built the diesel-powered ship to detect stealthy electric submarines, but developers say they believe it has the capability to go beyond that, including doing mine sweeps. There are no plans at this point to arm it.

“There are a lot of advantages that we’re still trying to learn about,” Littlefield said.

Among them is the possibility that the full-size prototype could pave the way to developing crewless cargo vessels for the commercial shipping industry someday, he added.


The ship was built off the Oregon coast, and moved on a barge to San Diego’s coastline to begin testing. The prototype can travel at a speed of up to 27 knots per hour, and is equipped with a variety of sensors and an advanced optical system to detect other ships, Littlefield said.

The program to develop the ship cost $120 million, though Littlefield said the vessels can now be produced for about $20 million.

There are video links at the link below.


Quote
U.S. military tests the ‘Sea Hunter’ — a 40-metre unmanned ship designed to cross oceans without a crew

Julie Watson, The Associated Press | May 2, 2016 5:08 PM ET

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. military is launching tests on the world’s largest unmanned surface vessel — a self-driving, 40-metre ship designed to travel thousands of kilometres out at sea without a single crew member on board.

The so-called “Sea Hunter” has the potential to revolutionize not only the military’s maritime service but commercial shipping — marking the first step toward sending unmanned cargo vessels between countries, according to military officials, who showed off the ship in San Diego on Monday before it was put in the water.

The Pentagon’s research arm, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, developed the ship along with Virginia-based Leidos. DARPA will test it in conjunction with the Navy over the next two years off California’s coast. The tests will largely focus on its ability to react on its own to avoid collisions with seafaring traffic.

During the testing phase, the ship will have human operators as a safety net, but once it proves to be reliable, the autonomous surface vessel will manoeuvre itself — able to go out at sea for months at a time.

Program manager Scott Littlefield said there will be no “remote-controlled driving of the vessel,” instead it will be given its mission-level commands telling it where to go and what to accomplish and then software will enable it to drive itself safely.

The military initially built the diesel-powered ship to detect stealthy electric submarines, but developers say they believe it has the capability to go beyond that, including doing mine sweeps. There are no plans at this point to arm it.

“There are a lot of advantages that we’re still trying to learn about,” Littlefield said.

Among them is the possibility that the full-size prototype could pave the way to developing crewless cargo vessels for the commercial shipping industry someday, he added.


The ship was built off the Oregon coast, and moved on a barge to San Diego’s coastline to begin testing. The prototype can travel at a speed of up to 27 knots per hour, and is equipped with a variety of sensors and an advanced optical system to detect other ships, Littlefield said.

The program to develop the ship cost $120 million, though Littlefield said the vessels can now be produced for about $20 million.

During the collision tests, the ship will be programmed to follow international traffic rules for boats of its size, Littlefield said. There are no standards for unmanned ships yet, but he believes that could change if vessels like this one make it out of the experimental stage.

The Navy over the years has experimented with a number of unmanned systems — from drone helicopters to small, remotely controlled boats launched from ships. The Pentagon’s budget over the next five years calls for investing in more high-end Naval ships, including $600 million to be invested in unmanned undersea vehicles.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/u-s-military-tests-the-sea-hunter-a-40-metre-unmanned-ship-designed-to-cross-oceans-without-a-crew?preview_id=1090081

I also think that this relates to the discussion on the F35 and the 6th Gen Fighter _

Quote
Beyond the Fighter Jet: The Air Force of 2030

In its quest to dominate the air battlefield of the future, the US Air Force may look to replace the traditional fighter jet with a network of integrated systems disaggregated across multiple platforms.

The Air Force on Thursday [April 14] rolled out the initial findings of a team tasked last year to explore options for maintaining air superiority in the future battle space. The group, the Air Superiority 2030 Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team, found that the best path forward is developing a “family of systems” to address the range of threats in a highly contested environment.

As near-peer adversaries like Russia and China continue to close the capability gap, building long-range missiles, anti-satellite and anti-aircraft weapons designed to foil US forces’ ability to penetrate, the Air Force must find new ways to dominate the air.

"The threat environment will continue to proliferate over the next 15 to 20 years, and we will face them in places and in spaces on this globe and above this globe that we don’t even anticipate right now," said Air Superiority 2030 lead Col. Alex Grynkewich on Thursday during an event hosted by the Air Force Association.

This family of systems, or “system of systems,” approach is the Air Force’s answer to the idea the US military is losing its advantage. The new strategy will include both stand-off capability and penetrating forces, with increased dependence on space and cyber to infiltrate enemy defenses and defend our own networks, Grynkewich said.

“What the adversary has done is built a whole bunch of different systems that are networked together . . . we learned over the years it takes a network to fight a network,” Grynkewich said. “It takes a network and an integrated system of systems or a family of systems in order to handle that highly contested environment in the future.”

The Air Force set aside money in its fiscal year 2017 budget request for experimentation and prototyping in the area of air superiority, Lt. Gen. James “Mike” Holmes, deputy chief of staff for plans and requirements, said during the event. The team will use this funding to explore concepts like the arsenal plane, hypersonic weapons, directed energy, autonomy, and electronic attack, the officials said.

But will the family of systems include a traditional fighter jet? Grynkewich seems to think not [emphasis added]...

The Air Force had planned to begin working on a joint analysis of alternatives with the Navy to explore a follow-on fighter jet solution, an F-X for the Air Force and an FA-XX for the Navy. But while the Navy went ahead with its AOA this year, the Air Force opted to delay the F-X effort, the service told reporters in February...
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/2016/04/08/beyond-fighter-jet-air-force-2030/82767356/

http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,22809.msg1433232.html#msg1433232

If the Air Force can contemplate networking a swarm of unmanned air vehicles moving at 500 knot then surely the Navy can manage a swarm at 25 knots (and they don't "sink" as easily).

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Offline Colin P

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2016, 10:38:16 »
logs, fishing gear, sailboats, containers, kayakers, what could go wrong......

I suspect the electronic signature of the vessel is going to be strong, which might not be a bad thing, knowing they are there can act as a deterrence and the apparent gap in the screen could be filled by a listening sub waiting for someone to try to slide through the gap. Also wondering how they would prevent the boarding and seizure of one of these? Can't use it in a littoral area without a risk of capture.

Offline Lumber

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 11:09:28 »
Also wondering how they would prevent the boarding and seizure of one of these? Can't use it in a littoral area without a risk of capture.

Web-cams to monitor the upper decks;
Electrified outer hull;
Tear-Gas extruders;
Temporary submerge ability (basically, the boat takes a quick and shallow "dive" into the water at high speed, just deep enough to submerge the upper decks, clearing it of boarders, before popping back up out of the water again);
Attack Sea-Gulls.

Lots of options.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 11:35:19 »
logs, fishing gear, sailboats, containers, kayakers, what could go wrong......

I suspect the electronic signature of the vessel is going to be strong, which might not be a bad thing, knowing they are there can act as a deterrence and the apparent gap in the screen could be filled by a listening sub waiting for someone to try to slide through the gap. Also wondering how they would prevent the boarding and seizure of one of these? Can't use it in a littoral area without a risk of capture.

To add to Lumber's thoughts, on the detection front:

Some squawking loud, some operating at "normal" levels, some quiet.

Some drifting.  Some sprinting.  Some cruising.

The presence of the force may be known but the area of operations, its strength and its capabilities may still all be fuzzy.
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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 11:47:28 »
Even onboard ship's a nd submarines, the good ones can distinguish things on their headphones faster than the sonar equipment can classify and detect  ;D.

A sonar operator needs the computer to classify.  Classification can't be performed solely on aural. 




Offline Colin P

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 11:53:17 »
To add to Lumber's thoughts, on the detection front:

Some squawking loud, some operating at "normal" levels, some quiet.

Some drifting.  Some sprinting.  Some cruising.

The presence of the force may be known but the area of operations, its strength and its capabilities may still all be fuzzy.

You will need some pretty good optical systems and algorithms to deal with the stuff you meet at sea. On the hovercraft we had a bit of a game going to see who would spot something first the radar operator or the lookout, kept us on the ball which is good when doing 30+ kts. It is amazing how much stuff will not show up on radar and if you do have radar on, then you are broadcasting.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2016, 10:46:57 »
You gents should stop getting a hard-on every time DARPA or NAVSEA comes up with one more of its cockamamy ideas and trials some research project.

Anybody remembers "Short-N-Fat", "Harrier Sky Hook", "Sea Knife", "SWAT", etc.?

Testing a new system by no means signifies that it will ever develop into something of import or will ever join the fleet.

Just look at the various problems Colin mentioned. They relate to safe navigation only and they already represent a formidable obstacle. That is the problem they are working on right now. And that is just the first of many problems to deal with. Now, add to that a suite of sensors to integrate (including the complexity of the tactical aspects of such expert system: In a submarine chase, some moves are actually made on a "hunch" of the captain - based on experience and in his getting inside the head of the sub driver) and ultimately some completely automated weapons systems (otherwise, what's the point of detecting).

And listen to your ideas for "self-protection" against boardings: submerging, electrified hulls, etc. What do you think these types of things would do to all your surface sensor suite? And how much more complexity of the onboard systems controlling all this will such defensive measures add?

And BTW, that DARPA dugout canoe (Long, thin and with two outriggers for stability), built the way it is specifically for speed and economy of available electrical energy may not scale up too easily, which would greatly limit both sensor suite and capacity to carry weapons. Scaling up may make it impossible to use mere electrical motors and batteries, but any other type of system would need some engineers as the reliability for continuous use is nowhere near.

Just sayin'.

In my opinion, this will only lead, in the end, to more onboard automation and better expert systems.

Oh! And Dolphin_Hunter: There may not be too many people left about from my days, but we used to do detection and classification of sonar contacts before the days of computers.  ;)  It wasn't as detailed and sophisticated as currently possible, but a good sonar man could tell you if you were going against a single screw, or double screw, nuclear or classic, and generally tell you the rough size of your contact - and some times a damn good guesstimate of range. It may be a lost art, but it used to be done.
 

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2016, 10:57:46 »
A carriage with no horse?

A ship with no sails?

How cockamamie can you get?   >:D
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2016, 11:28:12 »
A carriage with no horse?

A ship with no sails?

How cockamamie can you get?   >:D

Neither DARPA, nor NAVSEA came up with either of these ideas. [:p

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2016, 13:27:32 »
A carriage with no horse?

A ship with no sails?

How cockamamie can you get?   >:D
They must have gotten the idea from the "hospital with no patients" episode of "Yes, Minister" - oh, wait, the hospital DID have bosses ... ;D
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2016, 13:28:39 »
And DARPA is behind the curve on the development of Autonomous Vehicles as well.  The civilian world is driving that train.

DARPA has routinely gone to the civilian world to find out how to manage "robots".

http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/darpa-robotics-challenge-amazing-moments-lessons-learned-whats-next
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge_(2005)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge

Here are some civilian views on unmanned, robot ships - for containers.

https://www.hapag-lloyd.com/en/press_and_media/insight_page_42532.html
http://www.hrzone.com/perform/people/unmanned-ships-could-soon-be-a-reality-says-rolls-royce


And while I have your attention -  [:D

On the Shipbuilding Strategy thread you mentioned that all general purpose ships need all systems.  I question that.  If you are sailing in Task Groups, and you already have a division of labour between the AAWs and the GPs/ASWs (not to mention Cruisers, Carriers and Subs) why not plan on having ships sail in company with smaller ships, distributed systems and smaller crews.

Consider, for example, a Huitfeldt AAW sailing in company with an Absalon C&S together with a screen of 20,000,000 USD SeaHunters with on-board missiles and torpedoes.  The Absolon could be the home of a boarding team and a black-gang to maintain and operate the SeaHunters.  (And before you say it, I know missiles and torpedoes don't come cheap).

The point is that while sailors will always be necessary, the number of sailors that the RCN has available now, in my opinion, can be made more "productive", (able to do more things in more places) with better use of technology.  The other thing I believe such decentralization would result in would be more targets with fewer sailors on board that would be cheaper to operate.  That would diminish the pressure to "save the ship" at all costs.  And save lives.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2016, 13:32:57 »
PS -

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-05/06/self-driving-freight-trucks

Quote
Self-driving freight trucks have been given the go ahead to drive on Nevada's roads.

 [:)
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2016, 14:31:28 »
On the Shipbuilding Strategy thread you mentioned that all general purpose ships need all systems.  I question that. 

Well, I am right. If they don't have all the various systems (not the highest  end system for any category, but the level that affords them self-protection in all categories of fighting, with slight emphasis on one or two categories) then they are not general-purpose ships, are they?

Consider, for example, a Huitfeldt AAW sailing in company with an Absalon C&S together with a screen of 20,000,000 USD SeaHunters with on-board missiles and torpedoes.  The Absolon could be the home of a boarding team and a black-gang to maintain and operate the SeaHunters.  (And before you say it, I know missiles and torpedoes don't come cheap).

Disregarding your pathological fixation on the Iver Huitfled/Absalon  ;D , and dealing with the underlying argument only, it is true as a general rule that distributed systems are more resilient than concentrated ones (Or, as Scotty once put it: "The more complicated the plumbing, the easier it is to plug the drain"). However, here are a few points to keep in mind:

First (and foremost?), in your example, your SeaHunters will not cost you only $ 20M each (and I am not counting the cost of missiles and torpedoes) but much, much more. Why: simply put, the one DARPA just built for that price is a dinky toy and incapable of carrying anything. The small hull you see is entirely dedicated to housing the electric motor and all the electric batteries needed for the motor. It has little to no sensor systems on board - one civilian low power navigation radar, possibly a depth sounder, one  navigation GPS, one GPS "compass" system, one personal computer or its equivalent and probably one small electric helm motor and auto helm - and therefore, requires very little of the electrical power for the operation of he vessel. A military vessel would have much larger power requirements for all the sensors, computerized systems and combat systems associated with the weapons carried on board. Moreover, the very weapons you wish to put onboard would, in and of themselves, mean that you would need a much larger vessel so that there is space onboard for them. That means, again, more power, thus more batteries, thus more volume again, and so on. In a modern submarine, almost 50% of the interior volume of the sub is dedicated to the motors and batteries, and you would be hard pressed even at loitering speed to go for much more than 96 hours between snorkelling to recharge.

Just consider that many things have been predicated on improvement of batteries in our modern world, but that improvements in battery capacity, even with huge investment, as been the factor that has been the slowest to increase and there is no foreseeable breakthrough in sight.

Second: I think your scenario is off on the human factor: Your ships in the group would not only need their current engineers (and I mean both the marine systems and the weapons system ones) - so no reduction in numbers - but also have to carry the extra ones making the "boarding team/black gang for the SeaHunters (and no, you cannot use the "regular" engineering complement of the ship for that purpose: we already work them anywhere between 14 to 18 hours a day, six and half days a week when at sea - they are not taking another task on while steaming). And you would have to move those people about the various SeaHunters at sea, in say the mid-Atlantic in winter during a storm, etc. How do you do that safely? It would certainly require some form of inter-ship transport, either boats (need seamen) or helicopter (need airmen) that would require some permanent presence onboard the various SeaHunters.

Finally, your concept seems to consider that the "group" works together, which is fine. However, at that point, it means that the SeaHunters are no longer totally autonomous, sensing threats and dealing with it on their own, but rather need to "report" their findings to someone, and then wait to be delegated a task to carry out. That is one more level of complexity in their operating system.

When all this is taken into consideration, I am not sure there is any savings to be gotten.

   

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2016, 14:55:45 »
Oh! And Dolphin_Hunter: There may not be too many people left about from my days, but we used to do detection and classification of sonar contacts before the days of computers.  ;)  It wasn't as detailed and sophisticated as currently possible, but a good sonar man could tell you if you were going against a single screw, or double screw, nuclear or classic, and generally tell you the rough size of your contact - and some times a damn good guesstimate of range. It may be a lost art, but it used to be done.

We can still do that.  I can tell you if I have a single screw 7 bladed submerged contact, or a dual screw 5 bladed contact, etc. But I can't tell you with 100% certainty what the contact is.   We need passive information to classify.

I can also give you a range estimate based on aural contact, but I would require multiple sonobuoys in the water.   

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2016, 14:56:11 »
Well, I am right. .....
When all this is taken into consideration, I am not sure there is any savings to be gotten.

Well, I am.  [:D

Disregarding your pathological fixation on the Iver Huitfled/Absalon  ;D

How did you pronounce FREMM again?   With an Italian accent?

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Offline FSTO

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2016, 15:27:43 »
PS -

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-05/06/self-driving-freight-trucks

 [:)

Ah yes, Nevada, where it is hot and dry and the white lines painted on the roads are easily picked up by the trucks sensors. Now let toss in rain, snow, fog, wind, drifting snow etc etc. Would you want one of those meeting you on the tight TCH corners that are in the Selkirks?

Didn't think so!

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2016, 15:58:07 »
Ah yes, Nevada, where it is hot and dry and the white lines painted on the roads are easily picked up by the trucks sensors. Now let toss in rain, snow, fog, wind, drifting snow etc etc. Would you want one of those meeting you on the tight TCH corners that are in the Selkirks?

Didn't think so!

One does what one can, as one can.
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Offline cupper

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2016, 18:43:07 »
Ah yes, Nevada, where it is hot and dry and the white lines painted on the roads are easily picked up by the trucks sensors. Now let toss in rain, snow, fog, wind, drifting snow etc etc. Would you want one of those meeting you on the tight TCH corners that are in the Selkirks?

Didn't think so!

Yep. Have the Eye Sight collision avoidance / drive assistance system on my Subaru Outback. For the most part it works quite well. But I've seen it disengage in heavy rain, thick fog and once in heavy oncoming traffic due to headlight glare. I'd rather have seen a radar based system like the blind spot detection system in the back, as it would be less prone to being blinded like the front view camera. But you would still need a camera for lane detection.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2016, 10:36:20 »
related, optical based avoidance systems in drones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qah8oIzCwk

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2016, 11:55:12 »
also related, laser communications between vehicles http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2013/January/Pages/Game-ChangingLaserCommunicationsReadyForFielding,VendorsSay.aspx

Effective radio silence with lasers as Aldis Lamps.  You already have the receivers - Laser Warning Receivers. You already have the transmitters - Laser Range Finders (as well as weaponized Lasers).  The only "people" that "see" the communication are the transmitter and receiver - with very high data transmission rates.

Quote
ITT Exelis is working exclusively in the terrestrial realm. It is offering laser communication nodes that can be put on military platforms on land, sea and air. The company doesn’t see any utility in fixed sites, Tarantino said. It spent seven years developing with its own funds the “pointing acquisition and tracking” system that allows laser links between two moving vehicles.

“They have to be mobile systems. We don’t have a static military out there. They are moving. They are mobile,” Tarantino said.

Along with significantly higher throughput, he touted the technology’s security. The military has a renewed emphasis on anti-access/area-denial scenarios where the military may fight against peer competitors who are adept at jamming and electronic warfare. There may be situations where radios are knocked out. Laser might be the only secure way to communicate, he said.

The company has achieved air-to-air connections at 3 gigabytes per second at a distance of 130 kilometers. Air to ground reaches about 65 kilometers, and ground to ground about 35 kilometers. Because there has to be a line of sight, there must be connecting nodes, similar to radio repeaters, to expand the system over greater distances and over the horizon.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 12:08:17 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Underway

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2016, 13:54:47 »
You bring us flashing light.  Just ramped up to the Nth degree.

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2016, 16:00:55 »
You bring us flashing light.  Just ramped up to the Nth degree.

Yup.  From the same article

Quote
Laser communications do not use any of the radio spectrum. And, advocates point out, it is inherently protected. To disrupt a transmission, an enemy would have to be able to detect the narrow beam and find a way to put an object in front of it. To actually intercept data, he would have to place a receiver in its path.

In its simplest form, the energy is transmitted in pulses with the “1” digit being a pulse and the “0” a gap. But modulating the timing can create more sophisticated pulses. 

Perry described it as: “Morse code but at ridiculously high rates.”

How high? Two gigabytes per second and upwards of 20 gigabytes per second are possible, he said.
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2016, 10:50:33 »
Well, I am right. If they don't have all the various systems (not the highest  end system for any category, but the level that affords them self-protection in all categories of fighting, with slight emphasis on one or two categories) then they are not general-purpose ships, are they?

If all these things do is carry a chaff launch and an off-board jammer, I'll take them anywhere.

I really see this as a stepping stone. As you said, the battery technology is not sophisticated enough to have these things run on batter alone; they are going to need a power generation system. They also can't be completely autonomous yet. But we have to start somewhere! Eventually we will be able to build ships the size of corvettes with a full suite of armaments and sensors with an AI suite that will enable them to basically patrol by themselves; but, maybe by the time we have THAT technology, we won't even have navies anymore...

Anyways, while we are where we at, I'd be more than happy to use them as cannon fodder.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2016, 19:38:34 »
Blame George Wallace for reviving this thread.  Him and his Uber trucks!   ;D

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=2273

Quote
Crewless Ships in the Navy: Not If, But When
By Sandra I. Erwin




A team of senior Navy officials is examining the future makeup of the U.S. fleet at a time of growing demands and squeezed budgets. One of the expected takeaways is the idea that the Navy can’t continue to do business as usual and will have to turn over some jobs to unmanned vessels and submarines.

How to insert autonomous systems into the fleet is indeed one of the subjects of debate, says naval analyst Bryan Clark, of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Clark and other outside experts have participated in a series of “fleet architecture studies” led by the office of the chief of naval operations. Their findings will shape decisions on how to size and organize the future fleet.

Industry insiders see this review as a potential turning point in the modernization of the Navy's fleet. “We have these things now,” says a retired Navy officer speaking about autonomous surface ships and underwater vehicles. Prototypes have been developed and tested, but crewless ships are still considered odd novelties, says the retired officer, who spoke on condition that he not be quoted by name. “These are disruptive technologies” that do not fit neatly into current Defense Department funding lines, he says. “We worship at the altar of the big program of record. It’s not easy to buy one thing at a time and expect it to realize its full potential. We need an architecture that says 'here’s the future mix of manned and unmanned, and let’s migrate to that.'”

Technologists and executives in the robotics industry, he says, are optimistic that the fleet studies will "open the door for autonomous systems to become mainstream.”

The issue of whether the military should develop its own autonomous systems or buy them from the private sector has been a contentious topic of debate. The retired officer describes it as a “religious argument" within the services: Do you want small underwater vehicles to scrum in and out of submarines? If you do, you have to spend a lot of money to make them safe so they do not put submarines at risk. If the mission can be met with vehicles that can be launched from a pier and operate independently, the focus would be less on safety and more on the actual mission. His take: “You probably need a mix of both.”

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has offered a glimpse into what might be possible. In April it deployed a 132-foot autonomous trimaran — known as anti-submarine warfare continuous trail unmanned vessel — off the coast of San Diego. “The ball is in the Navy’s court,” the retired officer says. After the experiments are finished, the next conversation has to be "What missions can it do?"

Executives from the contractor firm that built the ship for DARPA, Leidos, told industry analysts that they are confident that the performance of this prototype will motivate the Navy to buy more ships. The drone ship, dubbed Sea Hunter, can stay deployed for months at a time at a cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per day, compared to $700,000 for a Navy destroyer, estimates defense analyst Byron Callan, of Capital Alpha Partners.

Leidos announced in July it completed initial trials of the vessel. “Sea Hunter is designed to operate for extended periods at sea with no person on board and only sparse supervisory control,” the company stated. While initial tests require a pilot on board the ship, later tests are planned to have no human operators. The two-year program is funded by DARPA and the Office of Naval Research. Upcoming tests will dig deeper into the performance of sensors, the vessel's autonomy suite and compliance with maritime collision regulations.

Top defense contractor Boeing is making a huge bet on autonomous naval vehicles. It opened an 8,100 square-foot research facility in St. Charles, Missouri, to showcase innovations. The company struck a partnership with a Silicon Valley firm to develop a commercial maritime surveillance autonomous ship that it is marketing to U.S. and other nations’ navies and coast guards.

The SHARC, or sensor hosting autonomous remote craft, collects data and shares it in real time. It has been sold to oil and gas companies and other industries for ocean exploration. Thirteen vehicles are now swimming off the coast of Hawaii, streaming data to command centers ashore. “The vision is to have large numbers of low-cost autonomous systems conducting missions that traditionally have required manned fleets,” says Egan Greenstein, senior director of autonomous maritime systems at Boeing Military Aircraft.

The target customers are the U.S. Navy and forces from allies countries that face increased demands for maritime security, he says in an interview. The SHARC will participate in a naval exercise in the United Kingdom this fall. “We want to show can we integrate data and broadcast it to decision makers,” Greenstein says.

The day is not far off when navies will start turning over duties to ocean-going robots, he says. “It’s really about embracing the path. Technologies will emerge to solve maritime problems.” Boeing signed a research agreement with the Naval Research Laboratory for the development of payloads for autonomous vehicles. “We want to see what’s possible,” says Greenstein. “The services recognize that the path into the future is going to have autonomous systems.”

Like other technologies that promise to transform how the military does business, autonomy is not a panacea. “We are on a journey,” Greenstein says. There are significant questions out there about the capability and "self-awareness" of autonomous ships. Today, they can self deploy from point to point, swim, compensate for weather, currents, waves and winds. If a cargo ship gets in the way, they go into self-protection mode, moving out of the way and then resuming their mission. Small vehicles like the SHARC can be deployed in large numbers, he adds. “They work as a fleet to maintain positioning, they communicate their position to each other.”

Technology is advancing quickly, and the levels of autonomy will increase, Greenstein says. Naval drones soon enough will be smart enough to use tactical information to make decisions about where they swim, for instance. “Today it is more about self protection. How do I get out of the way so I’m not run over? Eventually they will understand where the ships are and react to the tactical situation.” Autonomy has progressed from vehicles that just do what they are told and have enough brainpower to stay out of danger, to where they are able to take on more complex missions such as surveillance of enemy waters. “In the future, instead of telling them where to go, we give them a task, and tell them go do it, and call home when you find something.”

Conceivably, the military could deploy autonomous surface ships, submarines and aircraft and have them work together as a surveillance network. “If you can raise the level of autonomy to command all assets and say, ‘search an area and report back if you find something,’ that is the vision of where all this goes: Large numbers of autonomous systems relieving people from having to monitor in real time, continuously.” In theory, Greenstein explains, one could turn over the task of detection and reporting to the autonomous system and only bring the decision maker when there is a need to act on a piece of information.

The burgeoning debate over the use of autonomous ships illustrates the blessings and curse of technology. The Navy, increasingly overextended and under pressure to do more with less, sees robots as a potential “force multiplier.” In the larger U.S. civilian economy, robots can be double-edged swords that increase productivity but also leave millions of people out of work. In a recent Washington Post editorial, David Ignatius warns that the “automation bomb” could destroy 45 percent of the work activities currently performed in the United States. Currently, only 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated, but 60 percent of occupations could soon see machines doing 30 percent or more of the work.
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jollyjacktar

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2016, 20:32:51 »
Skynet approves of this message.   :nod:

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #35 on: September 05, 2016, 13:00:33 »
Quote
Skynet approves of this message.   :nod:

Brits playing with doom.....

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/707376/Navy-tests-unmanned-Bladerunner-robotic-speedboat-revolutionise-maritime-warfare



Quote
Navy tests unmanned 'Bladerunner' robotic speedboat to revolutionise maritime warfare

AN UNMANNED robotic speedboat dubbed 'Bladerunner' is being trialled by the Royal Navy in secret tests that could revolutionise maritime warfare.

By TOM BATCHELOR
PUBLISHED: 15:00, Mon, Sep 5, 2016 | UPDATED: 15:15, Mon, Sep 5, 2016

The Bladerunner vessel is autonomous

The high-speed vessel, which will take to the River Thames in London today for tests, is designed to carry out surveillance operations and does not carry weapons.

But the sleek matt black Bladerunner boats, which can reach speeds of more than 70mph, are already in use by foreign navies including Iran.

The Royal Navy hopes the new technology will allow it to leapfrog rival militaries, including China and Russia which are investing heavily in autonomous design.

The boat will allow the Ministry of Defence to test and tweak tactics for employing autonomous maritime technology, which until now has only been a major feature of the UK's air force with its drone fleet.

Technicians say the Bladerunner vessel is capable of operating at different levels of autonomy, from basic remote control use requiring human involvement to completely autonomous navigation.

The work is funded through the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, who conduct research on behalf of the Royal Navy.

Fleet Robotics Officer Commander Peter Pipkin said: "This is a chance to take a great leap forward in Maritime Systems - not to take people out of the loop but to enhance everything they do, to extend our reach, our look, our timescales, our efficiency using intelligent and manageable robotics at sea."

The Bladerunner will be taking part in the Unmanned Warrior 2016 exercises in October in Scotland and Wales involving UK and NATO forces.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: "The growing scale of Unmanned Warrior is a clear demonstration of the Royal Navy's ambition to lead and win through technological innovation.

"Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they're just the start.

"Our pursuit of new technologies and ideas - from big data to 3D-printing - will ensure we remain one of the most capable and successful navies in the world."

The US Navy launched its very first self-piloting ship designed to hunt enemy submarines in April.

The 132-foot-long (40-metre-long) unarmed prototype, dubbed the Sea Hunter, is designed to cruise on the ocean's surface for two or three months at a time - without a crew or anyone controlling it remotely.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2017, 21:02:32 »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2017, 14:10:55 »
Now, not only no sailors but, no fuel.





http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/21/drone-sailboat-transforms-into-spy-sub.html


Quote
Drone sailboat transforms into spy sub

By Allison Barrie
Published April 21, 2017

Part sailboat - part submarine, a new remarkable drone can patrol the oceans for months without stopping, powered by only the wind and the sun.

Developed by Ocean Aero, the Submaran S10 is autonomous, able to conduct missions on its own. This drone can sail on the surface of the ocean and then transform to dive beneath the surface travelling, similar to a submarine.

The hybrid drone can dive to depths of about 660 feet, which makes it useful not only for avoiding detection, but to discreetly conduct its own surveillance as well.

...

It's about the size of a Laser sailboat, at 13.5 feet long. It weighs nearly 280 pounds and with the wingsail up, the Submaran is an impressive 8 feet high.

Similar to an everyday sailboat, the self-sailing Submaran has a sail, but the sail has been designed to be retractable for underwater use.

Like some racing boats, the Submaran has a bulb keel, which allows for stability and counterforce for self-righting.

The Submaran incorporates solar panels on the outside for both its rechargeable batteries and thruster power; there is also an auxiliary thruster for additional power.

The design also incorporates stability ballast tanks. Included in the Submaran are a communications antenna, anemometer, LED navigation, light and a 360-degree camera.

...

A couple of thoughts - the bulb as sensor bay

The prospect of this technology being scaled up for cargo transport - surface running most of the time under sail, dowsing sails and ducking below the waves during storms or in high traffic areas.


http://www.bluebird-electric.net/ship_boat_design_building/International_Windship_Association.htm

https://youtu.be/JFPcZZR7oa8



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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2017, 20:51:15 »
Much like the Wave Glider sea going robot, this little drone is much more appropriate as part of a "swarm navy" or third offset strategy plan than as a major layer in its own right. Indeed, there is plenty of synergy in the idea of releasing swarms of drones like these to form sensor lines and provide accurate target data to ships, aircraft or even shore based assets. (conceptually this is really nothing different from lines of microphones in a "sound and flash" ranging system or undersea sensor systems fixed along oceanic choke points).

Still, much like the ongoing disagreement over what is the "right" size for land based vehicles, I will have to give it over to larger warships to actually prosecute missions, especially "blue water" missions. Small ships are great for short missions, coastal patrols and similar missions (even carrying seagoing drones!), but since a ship needs to be self contained for long periods of time, there is going to be a cutoff where the ship becomes two small to actually carry out its mission.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2017, 12:09:52 »
Quote
DSEI: Navy Poised to Order Second Vessel for ACTUV Sea Hunter Test Program

Quote
LONDON — The U.S. Navy is preparing to take full control of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program and procure a second craft.

A third might also be built as the Office of Naval Research (ONR) starts to evaluate additional roles for the autonomous wave-piercing trimaran design, an industry executive disclosed at the DSEI exhibition in London.

The prototype submarine tracking vessel was ordered in 2012 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), launched in January 2016 and christened Sea Hunter two months later.

In a presentation at DSEI on Thursday, Timothy Barton, the maritime chief engineer at prime contractor Leidos, said the innovative 132ft platform is now being transitioned from DARPA to the ONR for a two-year trial program. “We’re about to build a second hull and maybe a third”, he added.

Although negotiations between Leidos and the ONR are not yet finalized, Barton said the second craft will be constructed at an as yet unidentified facility in Mississippi at a cost of around $25 million.The ONR is planning to assess the vessel’s suitability for roles other than submarine hunting, such as logistics support, hydrographic survey and surveillance. Sea Hunter has already demonstrated the Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS), employing a parakite to elevate various sensors, increasing their range and enhancing the vessel’s situational awareness.

“The navy are still interested in ASW but their real interest is in the ‘autonomous truck’ capability, where we can integrate bathymetric survey or surveillance”, Barton told USNI News after his presentation.

“It will give multiple people in the fleet and intelligence community the opportunity to integrate packages, get prototypes in the hands of the fleet earlier.

It’s essentially the navy taking over, to do more testing and integrate other mission packages, and do the kind of work that will allow the navy to build trust slowly over time, because that’s the hard part.”

https://news.usni.org/2017/09/15/dsei-navy-poised-order-second-vessel-actuv-sea-hunter-test-program

https://youtu.be/PKjR3qodL-4

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2018, 11:52:45 »


Quote
This Unmanned Rolls Royce Ship Concept Could Launch Drone Choppers

Quote
Military.com 12 Jan 2018 By Hope Hodge Seck
As the Navy strives toward its goal of a 355-ship fleet, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has said unmanned systems may be a key to that growth.

For the service's consideration: a fully unmanned ship concept by Rolls-Royce that can spend 100 days at sea without a port visit, and launch and recover unmanned helicopters from a small rear deck.

Last September, Rolls-Royce rolled out the plan for a 60-meter unmanned naval vessel, shown in concept art sporting a sleek stripe and surrounded by quadcopters.

At the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium near Washington, D.C., this week, the company displayed concept art for a variant designed like a Navy ship, with Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopters on its helo deck.

While the Navy is pursuing unmanned surface vessels, such as Textron's Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle, for missions including harbor security and minesweeping, the size of the Rolls-Royce unmanned concept puts it in a separate category.

"I think when you're getting that big, it's a ship," said Davis Sanford, naval campaigns lead for Rolls-Royce.

In addition to providing a launching platform for the Fire Scout, the as-yet unnamed unmanned ship could be used for asymmetric warfare, mine countermeasures, or gear transport, Sanford told Military.com.

https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/01/12/unmanned-rolls-royce-ship-concept-could-launch-drone-choppers.html

And I keep hearing discussions about the need for large crews to manage damage control at the same time as I hear people lamenting that the navy can't find bodies to fill existing billets.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2018, 12:07:36 »
I think people will be shocked when one of these is hit and burn to the waterline, or sinks because there is no damage control and the automatic systems did not survive the first hit. Or that a bunch Yemen/Somalia pirates have disabled and boarded the vessel and taken it over and broadcast it on Youtube.

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2018, 12:18:56 »
I think people will be shocked when one of these is hit and burn to the waterline, or sinks because there is no damage control and the automatic systems did not survive the first hit. Or that a bunch Yemen/Somalia pirates have disabled and boarded the vessel and taken it over and broadcast it on Youtube.

It wouldn't shock me one bit if that were to occur.  Depending upon what sort of damage it was facing it would do either really good or really bad.  Smart valves, as installed on the Zumwalt are incredible with their ability reroute around damaged piping etc.  Of course, as an autonomous vehicle there would eventually be the tipping point where it wouldn't be able to recover and survive.  That is also a possibility with a manned vessel too.  What would be interesting for me would be, just how long would the fast response of an autonomous system stretch out that tipping point from happening, if at all.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2018, 13:16:16 »
What humans bring to the damage control side is a very adept sensor package, with the ability to assess that information and to act upon it. An autonomous vessel will be completely dependent on it’s sensor net to provide a response to damage and then on the controls being able to function to carry out the actions to respond. I suspect the “tipping point” will come sooner than later than with a manned crew. The day may come when mobile robots can conduct the damage control using both their own and the ships sensors to deduce the correct actions to be taken. However for the first few generations, I suspect the damage control systems will be minimal just to keep the costs down and won’t be the major focus until a few are lost.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2018, 13:59:19 »
My sense is that crew costs (and associated hotel costs) would decrease but, perhaps, you might see an increase in insurance rates (at least until a track record is established) and, perhaps, you might see an increase in pilotage costs to oversee operations in congested waters.

Remember that Stephenson's Rocket, with a maximum speed of 28 mph, was restricted to an operational speed of 4 mph..... the speed of the man with the flag walking in front of it.


Edit for related thought.  ---- in a world full of automated ships there might be a greater need for an At-Sea service community - kind of like an Automobile Association of the high seas.  There might also be a greater need for a high seas security force - more hulls spaced more closely to provide surveillance and response for the unmanned vessels.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 14:58:06 by Chris Pook »
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jollyjacktar

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2018, 15:20:02 »
What humans bring to the damage control side is a very adept sensor package, with the ability to assess that information and to act upon it. An autonomous vessel will be completely dependent on it’s sensor net to provide a response to damage and then on the controls being able to function to carry out the actions to respond. I suspect the “tipping point” will come sooner than later than with a manned crew. The day may come when mobile robots can conduct the damage control using both their own and the ships sensors to deduce the correct actions to be taken. However for the first few generations, I suspect the damage control systems will be minimal just to keep the costs down and won’t be the major focus until a few are lost.

The smart valves in the Zumwalt are obscenely expensive, 5 digit expensive.  But what they are capable of beats meat shield capabilities in my opinion as they can sense and reroute before we even know there's a problem.  But that is about it for now, the AI can't think outside the box like we can, just yet and in that respect we probably win in fighting the tipping point better.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2018, 15:38:17 »
Smart Valves?  You mean like these?  Which are used to supply you with your beer and milk and have been for at least the last 15 years?   So that you only need one or two shift operators?



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jollyjacktar

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2018, 16:27:36 »
Can't say for sure.  These smart valves talk to each other, know instantly if there is a firemain break or leak and will close and open as needed to isolate damage and bring the firemain back into service.  All without human interference or assistance.  They're tens of thousands of dollars each.

Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2018, 20:18:08 »
Can't say for sure.  These smart valves talk to each other, know instantly if there is a firemain break or leak and will close and open as needed to isolate damage and bring the firemain back into service.  All without human interference or assistance.  They're tens of thousands of dollars each.

Our current valves in naval bronze can easily cost that much, with the bigger valves going into the six figures.  The actuator is generally the cheapest part by quite a bit, and the controls and sensors for these are relatively simple.  It's one of the cases where the industry is way ahead of us, and the oil and gas shock and vibration standards can be comparable or exceed the mil standards.

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2018, 20:28:08 »
I'm am an LCMM, you don't need to tell me.  It's disgusting how expensive things are.  I believe the smart valves were starting at $40K+ USD each.  In a seawater services system that sort of price makes it eye wateringly expensive to fit out a ship.  They would love to do more of their ships but just cannot afford to do so.  We're not even in the sniff range of being able to.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Who needs sailors anyway?
« Reply #50 on: January 23, 2018, 10:21:12 »
In the marine environment, everything gets attacked at the mechanical, biological, chemical and electrical level. You really have to stay on top of that corrosion.