The Thames has seen more than its fair share of weird stuff this week. Just a day after having a giant floating model of London burned on top of it, the river has been used as a testing ground for one of the Royal Navy’s newest toys.
Mast (Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed), an autonomous 32-ft speedboat that’s expected to eventually be used as a tool for surveillance at sea -- watch out, submarines -- was given a run out on the Thames yesterday, successfully managing to weave between less technologically advanced vessels.
There were no devastating accidents, which is good.
Though Mast is capable of operating autonomously, it can also be remotely controlled. Doesn’t sound like a bad job, that. However, due to Port of London rules, it had to have a coxswain on board and limit its speed during the Thames test.
The Unmanned Warrior exercise is set to be hosted by the Royal Navy off west Wales, north-west Scotland and the Western Isles this autumn, where Mast will be showcased alongside over 40 other military drone systems. Maybe find somewhere else to swim while that's going on. [Guardian]