Caterpillar collaborates with Serco on NOMARS unmanned surface vessel

Written by Nick Blenkey
Serco NOMARS vessel

Serco's NOMARS Defiant unmanned ship. [Image: DARPA]

Caterpillar Marine reports that it has completed key milestones in support of the revolutionary new No Manning Required Ship (NOMARS) medium unmanned surface vessel that Herndon, Va., headquartered Serco Inc. is to deliver to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Cat notes that its marine-certified engines hold the distinction of meeting the reliability, durability, performance monitoring and speed requirements to operate at sea at 90% availability for one year without manned intervention.

Autonomous unmanned vessels are seen as an opportunity to protect crews from the inhospitable, dangerous environment encountered at sea. They are also cost savers, as eliminating crew quarters and onboard living requirements reduces shipbuilding costs.

“We’re excited to be part of one of the most important technological disruptions in the maritime industry,” said Randy Tymofichuck, vice president and general manager of Caterpillar Defense at Caterpillar Inc. “Beyond naval applications, autonomous ship designs can positively impact cargo transportation and energy sectors as well to help strengthen the supply chains for each.”

“Captains and maintenance crews are essential for any maritime application, and we can enable them to do their jobs more safely by employing autonomous vessels,” added Ryan Maatta, chief marine engineer and marine engineering manager at Serco. “Over the years, we’ve experienced the reliability, dependability and performance of Cat engines in our ship designs and Caterpillar’s technology brings all those factors to bear in this project plus impressive technical support.”

Caterpillar’s autonomous application activities extend beyond the maritime industry to include onshore mining, sonar and space applications.

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