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Artificial intelligence technology that has traditionally been implemented in aerial drones will be used in unmanned, miniaturized assault boats that could be used by China’s army PLA to attack enemies at sea.

The prototypes, which resemble shark fins, were developed in a collaboration between a Guangdong-based tech company and the PLA. Motherships will control the individual vessels, but artificial intelligence provides additional assistance by allowing the boats to communicate with each other so collisions can be avoided.

“Once equipped with weapons, unmanned small combat vessels can attack the enemy in large numbers, similar to drones,” said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert.

The United States and other Western counties are also working on creating “ant swarms” for operations on the ground, “drone swarms” for aerial operations and “shark swarms” for the sea, according to

Analysts believe that deploying a fleet of unmanned assault boats will help China scale up its naval capabilities.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is focused on expanding China’s global military presence, and dominating in the sea is part of his strategy.

China’s navy recently coordinated an exercise that involved the vessel traveling through the disputed South China Sea and circling around the self-governed island of Taiwan.