Leidos has successfully conducted the first self-guided voyage of its prototype maritime autonomy system between Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi, US.

Designed for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) anti-submarine warfare continuous trail unmanned vessel (ACTUV) programme, the system was installed on a 42ft-long work boat during its 35nm voyage.

"The maritime system met all autonomous functional requirements."

Serving as a surrogate vessel to test sensor, manoeuvring and mission functions of the prototype ACTUV, the boat successfully sailed the complex inshore environment of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway without any preplanned way points or human intervention.

It was controlled by the autonomy system and equipped with a navigational chart of the area that was loaded into its memory and inputs from its commercial-off-the-shelf radars.

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The maritime system met all autonomous functional requirements, enabling the boat to avoid obstacles, buoys, land, shoal water and other vessels in the area.

Leidos is currently continuing with the construction of Sea Hunter, the first ACTUV prototype vessel, in Clackamas, Oregon, US.

Sea Hunter will undergo testing in the Columbia River following its scheduled launch later this year.

Originally conceived for an anti-submarine warfare mission, DARPA’s ACTUV programme aims to develop an independently deployed, unmanned naval vessel that will operate under sparse remote supervisory control and follow the collision avoidance rules of the sea, known as COLREGS.