Boston – Sea Machines Robotics announced today that it has completed the world’s first 1,000+ nautical miles autonomous and remotely commanded journey of a commercial vessel at sea. Under the project named The Machine Odyssey, the autonomous tug Nellie Bly completed its journey in a mere 129 operational hours over 13 days. The program was commanded by U.S. Coast Guard-licensed mariners remotely stationed 3,000 miles away in Boston, many of whom are also members of the American Maritime Officers union.
“The completion of this voyage marks the catalyst for a new era of at-sea operations,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines.
The Nellie Bly employed first-of-it’s-kind AI-enabled, long-range computer vision and a sensor-to-propeller autonomy system, the Sea Machines SM300. Its technical features allowed for path-planning, active domain perception, dynamic obstacle, and traffic avoidance and replanning, depth sensing, and fusion of vectored nautical chart data. 96.9% of the 1,027 mile journey was accomplished under fully autonomous control and the SM300 successfully executed 31 collision-avoidance and traffic separation maneuvers.
Using multi-sensor fusion, the system digitally perceived over 12,000 square miles of ocean space more accurately and comprehensively than comparable human operators. This successful autonomous operation demonstrates that with this technology the world’s fleets can ply the oceans in a more predictable and safer manner, while optimizing the global supply chain by delivering a greatly more efficient and productive means of transportation than what exists today.