US Navy grants FAU $1.25 million to research driverless ships

The boats will carry Navy equipment, as well as its sailors.


A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. With FAU’s help, the navy plans on building unmanned versions of these “motherships.” Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Rodriguez, Features Editor

During World War I and World War II, the U.S. Navy used underwater vehicles, like submarines, to attack surface battleships with torpedoes.

But now, submarines are threatened by radar detection, other submarines, and underwater mines.

To keep their resources safe, the Navy awarded FAU $1.25 million to research a driverless marine vehicle platform over the next five years. The unmanned “motherships” will act like aircraft carriers — platform boats carrying planes, equipment, Navy sailors, submarines, and drones.

The grant will go to the College of Engineering and Computer Science and will help protect U.S. coastal waters, says news wise.

“We hope to assist in the development of unmanned autonomous boats that can safely and reliably navigate through the waters and provide support for aerial drones and unmanned underwater vehicles,” FAU researcher Manhar Dhanak said.

Dhanak is the lead researcher for the project along with a team of engineers, an FAU alum, and several graduate and undergraduate students.

“Unmanned vehicles in the marine environment help to keep sailors out of harm’s way, and reduce costs associated with Naval activities in coastal waters,” Dhanak said.

Once the project is finished, the Navy will be able to perform coastal surveys, track other underwater boats, and provide protection for other U.S. ships.

Alexander Rodriguez is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet @AARodriguezz93