The Navy’s Developing Little Autonomous Boats to Defend Its Ships

To counter asymmetric attacks—the 505-foot [USS] Cole was attacked by a small craft packed with explosives that ripped 40-foot gash in the destroyer—the Navy uses small patrol craft for close-quarters defense. And that means placing sailors in the line of fire. That got the Office of Naval Research into developing autonomous technology for small “swarmboats” that could be used for risky jobs.

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