Rolls-Royce is building an autonomous boat as companies race to bring self-driving tech to the seas

Rolls-royce driverless boatRolls-Royce plcRolls-Royce is developing a driverless vessel.

Rolls-Royce is taking self-driving tech to the seas.

The defence and engineering company, which was spun out from the car company back in the 1970s, said it wants to build a naval vessel that can operate by itself for 100 days straight. The 60-meter ship is designed to assist with patrol and suveillance as well as mine detection.

“Over the next 10 years or so, Rolls-Royce expects to see the introduction of medium sized unmanned platforms, particularly in leading navies, as the concept of mixed manned and unmanned fleets develops,” Rolls-Royce wrote in a press release.

Rolls-Royce said it has created an intelligent awareness system that uses artificial intelligence to help the ship operate without human intervention. The ship would require fewer crew members to help limit the number of people exposed to hazards and trim costs.

The company joins several others in the race to automate boats. Norwegian fertiliser company YARA is building an electric, driverless boat that is slated to be operational in 2018. Startup Sea Machines Robotics has also been testing an unmanned vessel in the Boston Harbour.

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