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Autonomous vehicles in the maritime sphere are less prevalent than aerial systems, yet new developments demonstrate innovation and response to changing needs. A new autonomous boat being developed right now is known as the autonomous Pacific 950 Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). This will give the US Navy the ability to overcome many challenges in the water as a strong relationship will be created between humans and machines. Unmanned systems are gradually taking over the army because of their unique capabilities; the most important being the fact that humans do not have to put their lives at risk as much.
The P950 reduces the amount of tasks needed to be completed by soldiers as it is equipped with automated navigational decision-making technologies, according to baesystems.com. The boat could either be controlled by remote or on a semi-autonomous mission. It holds a large amount of power and endurance as it can operate for up to 10 days at patrol speed. Naval operators will be able to make more effective decisions as the boat renders enhanced situation awareness.
The P950 has proven to be able to handle difficult multi-phase missions and support advanced dynamic tasking.
If there happens to be a threat, the P950 knows how to quickly and properly position itself from its pre-programmed intelligent behaviors. When the weapons system needs to be used, the boat will still be operating and navigating while the weaponry will be used by a human. The last decision will always be made by the highly-trained operator that is in the loop. Soldiers will be provided with much faster decision making skills in complex situations.
The P950 was developed by BAE Systems with help from industry experts from L3Harris and MSI Defence Systems. The boat has been being developed for about four years now and is planned to be ready for battle soon. It just needs to complete a few more trials in order to prove it is ready for combat.