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US Navy wants robotic warships as people learn to communicate with other ships

US Navy wants to learn how to teach robotic warships as human sailors to communicate with other ships

  • US Navy is designing a system for unmanned ships with which it can talk to other ships
  • It would understand radio broadcast and respond in natural language
  • The navy has set out a three-phase process to design the system

The US Navy is designing a system for its unmanned warships that communicate as human sailors, allowing the vessel to safely navigate waterways.

The aim is to enable human bridge crews to communicate with robot ships using normal speech through the global radio system used for communication between ships.

The naval vessels would have been designed to understand safe radio broadcasts, to incorporate their significance into the world model, to develop appropriate maneuvering plans and to respond to the radio by voice.

The announcement is to comply with international regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea (COLREGS), which contains strict instructions on how ships recognize each other and pass each other while traveling through waterways.

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The US Navy designs unmanned warships that communicate like human sailors, so that they can safely navigate the waterways. Depicted is The Sea Hunter, an unmanned vessel developed by the navy

The US Navy designs unmanned warships that communicate like human sailors, so that they can safely navigate the waterways. Depicted is The Sea Hunter, an unmanned vessel developed by the navy

The current method is that the human crew uses the VHF radio, a globally used system of bidirectional radio transceivers on ships and personal watercraft used for voice communication from ship to ship – but robot ships cannot use the technology.

‘The navy is looking for an integrated solution that makes a USV possible [Current Unmanned Surface Vehicles] to behave like a human sailor, “the Navy said in the announcement.

“In particular, the USV must be able to understand safe Bridge-to-Bridge radio broadcasts, incorporate their meaning into its world model, develop appropriate maneuvering plans, and respond to the Bridge-to-Bridge radio by voice.”

To teach their robotic warships to ‘speak’, the navy has drawn up a three-phase plan.

For the first phase, the military group explains that the ships will have technology to recognize “common vocations such as” Sea Hunter, which is Sun Princess; propose a passage from port to port. “

The naval vessels are said to be designed to understand safe radio broadcasts, to incorporate their significance into the world model, to develop suitable maneuvering plans and to respond to the radio by voice (stock photo)

The naval vessels are said to be designed to understand safe radio broadcasts, to incorporate their significance into the world model, to develop suitable maneuvering plans and to respond to the radio by voice (stock photo)

The naval vessels are said to be designed to understand safe radio broadcasts, to incorporate their significance into the world model, to develop suitable maneuvering plans and to respond to the radio by voice (stock photo)

“Integration with a true VHF radio is not required in phase I, but phase I must include a plan to expand the product in phase II and beyond, an analysis demonstrating the viability of that plan and a proposed approach to phase II testing is the announcement.

“The Phase I option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capability description to build a Phase II prototype solution that includes a true VHF radio, extends functionality to sailors who speak English as a second language, and generates English responses to proposed maneuvers. “

During phase two, the group will develop a working prototype of the system that they can test and evaluate, and they expect it to be completed three months before the end of this phase.

The final phase includes a definitive end-to-end system that allows the robot ship to perform like a human sailor, particularly when using the VHF Bridge-to-Bridge radio to negotiate maneuvers in situations involving three or more ships are involved ‘.

The navy suggests that talking robots will also be useful for commercial ships.

“The civilian market for unmanned ships seems ready to take off, and such ships should be able to function even when satellite connections to external surveillance facilities on shore do not work,” the military branch explains.

“In addition, this technology can be used on minimally manned ships and pleasure craft as a tool for a human operator.”

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