Chinese Shipbuilder Presents One of a Kind Autonomous Drone Carrier for Sea Research - Report
The developers reportedly claim that it will assist Chinese oceanographers in expanding their study using unmanned and autonomous technologies.The 88-meter (290-ft) ship will transport "dozens" of autonomous systems equipped with research gear.
The China State Shipbuilding Corporation's Huangpu Wenchong has launched what is believed to be the world's first "unmanned vehicle carrier," a research ship designed to transport and deploy unmanned planes, surface vessels, and submersibles, the Maritime Executive reported.
Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), commonly known as Sun Yat-sen University's "Southern Ocean Laboratory," owns the recently launched Zhu Hai Yun ship, according to the report.
The ship's designers reportedly tried to include as much domestic content as possible in its propulsion, power, survey, and automation systems.
The project's main goal is said to be mass-deployment of unmanned devices for a 3D, networked observation system above and below the surface - a "Intelligent and Agile Ocean Stereoscopic Observation System" with a diameter of around 50 nm.
The concept, like other civilian maritime autonomy efforts such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Sea Wing glider and Yunzhou Tech's swarming drones, could have naval uses, per the outlet.
The vessel's construction began in July 2021, and its sponsors described it as a difficult endeavor due to its complexity.
According to the contemporary report, the ship is expected to be self-navigating, with human pilots steering her into and out of ports. Its goal is to deploy it on maritime survey missions without any crew members on board.
It is also expected to have unmanned devices and drones that it will be able to launch and recover on its own.
At the moment, the ship is reportedly undergoing outfitting alongside the pier before being delivered before the end of the year.