Swiftships partners to develop autonomous Special Ops craft

Written by Nick Blenkey
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AUGUST 2, 2016 — Swiftships, LLC, Morgan City, LA , has partnered with ICS Nett Inc. (ICS), a Virginia-based technology solutions company, to continue research and development efforts that will transform a Special Operation Craft Riverine (SOCR), the Anaconda, into a completely autonomous watercraft.

Equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, it will be faster and have more complex maneuverability than its predecessor.

Phase One of the Anaconda began in 2014 when a partnership between Swiftships and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette created the Anaconda as a remotely piloted vessel. Later, a trajectory-tracking controller was added for use in obstacle free environments.

Phase One completed in 2015, and ICS is adopting Phase Two to create the Anaconda 2.0 as an ongoing project.

In order for the Anaconda 2.0 to become an autonomous AI watercraft, ICS will provide technological solutions and services.

First, ICS will upgrade the current remote control capabilities with BVR satellite based control for longer, wireless range. Next, the original code, control mechanisms, and sensor interface will be updated and validated.

The current Anaconda model lacks closed loop data from the boat that is needed to adjust control actions; to combat this, additional sensor interface will be equipped to transmit relevant boat data back to the operator console as necessary.

Once the sensory interface is in place, ICS will augment the AI with procedures that will allow the boat to follow terrain and way point markers, be capable of collision avoidance without direct input, and to perform tactical maneuvers and loiter in area for long periods of time, all without human intervention.

To test the success of the upgrade, ICS will design a test bench system capable of reproducing the field conditions in a simulated environment.

“We are prepared to run as many field tests and calibrations as are necessary to see this project to completion,” Shehraze Shah, Swiftships CEO said. “With a focus on Artificial Intelligence, this project is a significant milestone for Swiftships, ICS, and the shipbuilding industry.”

“We chose to work with ICS on this project because of their proven success and dedication to providing leading-edge technological services,” said Swiftships President Jeff Leleux. “This project will reaffirm that both Swiftships and ICS are leaders in innovation in their respective fields.”

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