Australian undergraduates develop autonomous maritime vessels

There's no shortage of online chatter about driverless cars, but on the other side of the world a team of young roboticists have been working hard on the world's first driverless search-and-rescue boat. Originating from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the team are designing vessels that can search for oil slicks, track down missing debris, and rescue anyone who's gone overboard.

At this point in time, autonomous boats can get from point A to point B, but aren't capable of dealing with constantly changing variables that are typical of a rescue situation. That could all be changing very soon however, thanks to the first-ever international marine robotics competition taking place in Singapore next month. “This competition is a test bed for creating the technology needed to build robotic boats that perform the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs human mariners can't or don't want to do,” explained QUT roboticist and team advisor, Dr Matt Dunbabin.

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