Navy Eyes Unmanned Vehicles for Dangerous Missions
Textron Land and Marine System has successfully demonstrated its Custom Unmanned Surface Vessel, which it aims to sell to the US Navy to perform risky missions like minesweeping and approaching enemy sea vessels. (Source: Textron)
Seems like a natural move to beef up technology to support unmanned sea vehicles for risky missions just like the Air Force uses UAVs. I'm curious why there hasn't been much real work in this area up until now. Are there more limitations?
Beth, that is a good question. Considering mine sweeping, approach to hostile ships, etc. this seems like a natural for this type of technology. It also seems like it would be easier, since you are constrained in one dimension. There may be other issues, or it may just be that the need has not been percieved.
Not only the technology of being un-manned-(remarkable enough); but another technology (not described in much detail): An anti-sinking feature that enables the boat to automatically shut off, right itself, and resume its course if it capsizes. That is amazing!How about commercializing that feature into mainstream yachting-?Bet the captain of the Costa Concordia (the sunken Italian cruise ship) would have liked that feature?!
I wonder how many other areas this concept could be used in, Beth. So far there is the Air Force and UAVs, the Navy and water-based UOVs (unmanned ocean vehicles), nuclear remote robots, and mine-detecting/mine destroying robots. There must be unlimited opportunities for the next Steve Jobs who will find the next application. I hope I'm him...
The Coast Guard has had some self-righting boats for several years. The 47 foot motor life boats have been in service since 1997. This boat self-rights in 15 seconds with all equipment fully functional. The new 45 foot medium response boat that began entering service in 2008 is self-righting but is not designed for conditions as severe as the motor life boat.
The flotation systems are passive. The weight and flotation are distributed to have the boat turn uptight. (Many weighted keel sailboats will do this, too.) As for the other systems on the boat, I must defer to others.
The FDA has just released draft guidelines for using 3D printing in the design, development, and manufacture of regulated medical products. Although the recommendations are non-binding, they do set some much-needed parameters.
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