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U.S. Navy's Autonomous 'Swarmboats' Demonstrate Harbor Defense

Drone boats from the U.S. Navy have begun learning to work together like a swarm with a shared hive mind. A recent 'swarmboats' demonstration, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, took place in the lower Chesapeake Bay off the Virginia coast for about a month. This demonstration showcased shared situational awareness and greater cooperative decision-making, as well as harbor defense. Four drone boats showed off their improved control and navigation software by patrolling an area of 4 nautical miles by 4 nautical miles. If they spotted a possible threat, the swarmboats would collectively decide which of them would go track and trail the intruder vessel. In the future, such drone boats could act as a first line of defense by scouting and screening for larger Navy warships manned by sailors.