Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics and Christchurch, New Zealand-based HamiltonJet have signed an agreement to develop a new pilot-assist product that utilizes computer vision and autonomous command and control technologies to move waterjet vessels to the forefront of 21st century navigation and utility. By combining the capabilities of Sea Machines’ autonomy platform with HamiltonJet propulsion systems and vessel controls, the partners will be able to offer a helm-based system that reduces manual workload, automates navigation control, increases safety and manages many aspects of routine while allowing crew to focus on the unique, complex and high-value activities.
“HamiltonJet and Sea Machines have developed a concept that utilizes on-board autonomy with enhanced situational awareness (through cameras, radar, AIS, GPS, etc.) in a way that is highly desirable in many manned applications. But we knew it had to be well integrated at the helm and easy for mariners to use. The skipper experience is foundational to our products, so we saw that by partnering, we could deliver a HamiltonJet-branded solution that feels like a native part of our controls,” said HamiltonJet’s Ben Reed, managing director. “We work with a variety of autonomy providers around the world, but we feel Sea Machines is the best partner for this product due to their commercial focus and rapidly expanding technical capabilities.”
“Sea Machines is pleased to again partner with HamiltonJet, the leader in water-jet propulsion systems for workboats and utility craft,” said Sea Machines’ CEO Michael G. Johnson. “We are joining forces to marry proven autonomous-command and situational-awareness technologies with front-running waterjet propulsion systems and vessel controls to ultimately enhance and modernize the pilot experience. Like other disruptive technologies, it won’t be too long before this becomes standard and we wonder how we lived without. We look forward to delivering it to market and elevating the total industry as a result alongside HamiltonJet.”
Currently under development, this innovative pilot-assist product is slated to be operational in 2022. In the near future it will be fully embedded in HamiltonJet’s Advanced Vessel Control (AVX) program.
In 2019, Sea Machines and HamiltonJet successfully commissioned an SM300 autonomous control system aboard a HamiltonJet-powered workboat in New Zealand. HamiltonJet continues to trial this marine technology and provides on-demand customer demonstrations in the Southern Hemisphere.
HamiltonJet’s commercial customers primarily operate in the marine security, survey, search and rescue, firefighting, ferry, aquaculture and pilot boat sectors, which are all ideal candidates for Sea Machines technology.