MAST has been built for the MoD’s defence laboratories and is based on an existing Bladerunner speedboat, but fitted with sensors and robotic technology that is still largely classified.
The boat has a sophisticated anti-collision system to avoid hazards and other craft, but current laws meant that when it was unveiled on the Thames, it had to have a human coxswain on board.
While the MAST is only a test platform for new technology and will not enter service as it stands, sources said it could it pave the way for future robots vessels that can track, shadow or spy on other craft as well as loitering off coastlines.
Elizabeth Quintana, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Navy was looking at unmanned vehicles to take on “dull, dirty, and dangerous” jobs. Read the rest of this entry »