The U.S. Navy is testing a team of drone boats to protect harbors here and abroad. The boats, which are basically autonomous versions of the Rigid Hull Inflatable, are connected to a AI routing system called CARACaS. In original 2014 tests the boats worked separately to protect ships in a harbor and the new routing system now allows them to swarm as a team to surround and neutralize threats.
The system is also running an automatic vehicle identification system that allows the boats to assess friends and foes on the high seas.
Autonomous boats work well because, well, there isn’t much to hit in the ocean. These boats are especially useful in keeping unwanted boats away from Navy vessels and because they work in concert they can patrol a spot and then mass together to prevent a threat. The best thing? These aren’t special, custom-made boats. The Navy is simply outfitting standard boats with AI and control mechanisms and letting the loose making it far easier to retrofit older “dumb” boats and recruit them into the coming machine army.