Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is the effective understanding of anything associated with the safety and security of the global maritime domain, including illegal fishing, drug enforcement, and limiting intrusion into protected areas. Congress has tasked the United States Coast Guard (USCG) with examining the feasibility, costs, and benefits of using autonomous platforms to improve MDA in remote areas of the ocean. Last week, a fleet of six Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) began a month-long demonstration of autonomous MDA capabilities for the US Coast Guard off the coast of Hawaii.
A fleet of six saildrones was launched from Honolulu to demonstrate how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to support the US Coast Guard mission.
The Saildrone MDA solution consists of a wind and solar-powered vehicle designed for long-duration missions at sea and equipped with a specially designed optical array, automated identification system (AIS) receivers, and Saildrone-designed AI/ML software, which fuses the data from all sensors, recognizes targets of interest, and alerts the end-user in near real time.
Saildrone USVs can provide persistent MDA along any 200 nautical mile line in any ocean. They can be deployed from any dock and transit autonomously to the survey area to perform missions up to 12 months without returning to port for maintenance or refueling. The wind and solar-powered nature of the vehicle means it does not negatively impact the ecosystem and is safe to operate in protected marine areas.