Sea Machines Robotics demonstrates autonomous oil spill response capability

An autonomous oil spill response skimmer boat developed by a team led by Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics completed a successful demonstration of its capabilities in Maine’s Portland Harbor on Wednesday, August 21.

The demonstration used a skimmer boat built by Vigor and Kvichak Marine Industries and owned by Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) of Washington, DC.

From a shoreside location at Portland Yacht Services, a Sea Machines operator commanded the autonomous skimmer boat to perform: remote autonomous control from an onshore location or secondary vessel; ENC-based mission planning; autonomous waypoint tracking; autonomous grid line tracking; collaborative autonomy for multi-vessel operations; and wireless remote payload control to deploy on-board boom, skimmer belt, and other response equipment.

The demonstration was carried out as part of a joint project by Sea Machines and the US Maritime Administration (MARAD). The project seeks to increase the safety, productivity, and predictability of response for marine oil-spill operations.

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