The U.S. Navy has revealed its new unmanned swarm boats. This self-guided patrol boats that can leave warships they’re protecting and swarm and attack potential threats on the water could join the Navy’s fleet within a year. The Navy can control boats without putting anyone inside thanks to their sensors and software. Algorithms help determine the right speed and the best course of action. These boats are designed to act as an initial line of defense, and can quickly surround unknown or enemy boats as a deterrent. But they’re not just a warning sign. They can also fire .50 caliber machine guns if the deterring doesn’t work, though they don’t start shooting on their own.
The most promising part of this new technology is that not only does it allow the Navy to execute hazardous missions without putting sailors in harm’s way, it also reduces the cost of deploying manned ships to conduct missions that unmanned sailing vehicles are perfectly capable of handling.
This new technology could one day help stop attacks like the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen, when 17 sailors were killed and 39 injured.