The UK Royal Navy has tested an unmanned surface vessel based on the innovative ‘Bladerunner’ hull, Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST).
The unmanned speedboat known as MAST is being developed by Portchester-based ASV Ltd, under research funding from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), The development provides a testbed to host a range of new technologies which allows the Ministry of Defence to test and evolve tactics to employ maritime autonomous systems.
Even tough it can navigate and avoid collisions autonomously and can be operated via remote control, Mast has a coxswain on board to take control if required because of Port of London bylaws, which also limited the speeds at which it could travel, UK defense Journal reported Tuesday.
Mast is being developed with research funding from the Ministry of Defence’s science and technology laboratory, to explore how well such vessels function autonomously. Eventually, it is expected that they play a important role in surveillance and reconnaissance.
The 32ft MAST is one of over 40 Autonomous Systems taking part in Unmanned Warrior 2016 this autumn, off West Wales and NW Scotland and the Western Isles.
MAST is a UK designed and built craft capable of reaching high speeds on which high speed autonomy can be investigated.