‘In April 2016 I reported that DARPA was hard at work on a plan to introduce 132-foot “Sea Hunter” drone warships to the world’s waterways within 5 years. Seemingly behind schedule, DARPA is now releasing some more details about their plans to update the artificial intelligence program for the Navy and Marines, but is soliciting help to complete the project.
Although mainstream media playfully compared the project it to a sea-bound version of Google’s self-driving car, in 2016 DARPA described it as follows:
DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program has designed, developed and constructed an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel—one intended to traverse thousands of kilometers over the open seas for months at a time, all without a single crew member aboard.
Part of the recent announcement was also to reveal that a single Sea Hunter did complete a long-distance autonomous journey from San Diego to Hawaii and back. However, it appears that the grander vision of a flotilla of these ships traversing the oceans will not make the initial 2021 deadline, as the recent solicitation puts a new 36-month timeline on the project.’