Watch the US Navy's New Unmanned Swarm Boats in Action

By Kate Knibbs on at

The US Navy is aiming to add its new unmanned swarm boats to the fleet within a year, and a video released by the Office of Naval Research shows what an asset these empty vessels will be.

The swarm boats are outfitted with sensors and software so the Navy can control them without putting anyone inside. Algorithms help determine the right speed and the best course of action. These boats are designed to act as an initial line of defence, and can quickly surround unknown or enemy boats as a deterrent. But they're not just a warning sign. They can also fire .50 calibre machine guns if the deterring doesn't work, though they don't start shooting on their own. Like military drones in the sky, a person will control the weapons.

There isn't a specific type of swarm boat. The Navy's sensor and software technology can turn small vessels into unmanned swarmers, so they can retrofit older boats. [ABC]