NZ-based HamiltonJet and Boston-based start-up Sea Machine Robotics have signed an agreement to develop a new pilot-assist product that uses computer vision and autonomous command and control technologies for waterjet vessels
HamiltonJet managing director Ben Reed said the partners have developed a concept that utilises onboard autonomy with enhanced situational awareness (through cameras, radar, AIS, GPS, etc) that applies to manned applications.
The helm-based system is looking to reduce manual workload, automate navigation control, increase safety and manage many aspects of routine tasks while allowing crew to focus on high-value activities.
“But we knew it had to be well integrated at the helm and easy for mariners to use. The skipper experience is foundational to our products, so we saw that by partnering, we could deliver a HamiltonJet-branded solution that feels like a native part of our controls,” said Mr Reed.
Sea Machines chief executive Michael G Johnson said “Like other disruptive technologies, it won’t be too long before this becomes standard and we will wonder how we lived without it.”
Currently under development, the pilot-assist product is slated to be operational in 2022 and it will soon be fully embedded in HamiltonJet’s advanced vessel control programme.
Previously, both companies successfully commissioned an SM300 autonomous control system aboard a HamiltonJet-powered workboat in New Zealand. HamiltonJet said it continues to trial this technology and provides on-demand customer demonstrations in the Southern Hemisphere.
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