Page 46: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2014)
U.S. Coast Guard Annual
L ast month, Swiftships Ship- builders, LLC, in Morgan
City, La., showcased the Ana- conda-2 – an unmanned, 35-ft. craft in development – during a demon- stration on the Atchafalaya River next to its HQ. The company partnered with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette more than a year ago to produce technol- ogy for a vessel that can navigate with- out a pilot aboard. Swiftships and ULL are designing a boat that uses Global Po- sitioning System/sensory data, and has the potential to support naval, enforce- ment and zone-protection operations, mainly on inland waters.
AN-2 Is Based On An Earlier Vessel “Anaconda-2 or AN-2 is the second iteration of the original Anaconda built by Swiftships in 2001,” said Shehraze
Shah, CEO, Swiftships. The diesel-pow- ered, modifi ed V hull form, all-alumi- num Anaconda is a Swift Autonomous
Vessel with twin water jet propulsions.
The Anaconda can reach 50-plus knots and is designed to operate in Beaufort sea state two, or small wavelets, and can survive in sea state four – small waves with fairly frequent whitecaps. “The SAV offers enhanced surveil- lance and reconnaissance, identifi ca- tion and interception capabilities,” said
Shah. “For more than eight hours at a time, it can perform force-protection du- ties, required by state and local authori- ties, coast guards and special operation commands, including the navies of the world.” The SAV uses commercial, off- the-shelf technology, making it easier for overseas clients to adopt the craft, he said.
Swiftships Taps ULL’s Success
The U.S. military, meanwhile, contin- ues to adopt unmanned technology. In 2001, Congress mandated that one-third of all ground vehicles in the U.S. Armed
Forces be replaced with robotic vehicles by 2015. With an eye to that mandate,
Swiftships paid attention to ULL’s suc- cess with CajunBot, an all-terrain ve- hicle with autonomous piloting. A ULL computer engineering team, led by pro- fessor Arun Lakhotia, developed Cajun-
Bot, and entered the six wheeler in U.S.
Department of Defense contests in 2004 and 2005. Because of ULL’s expertise in control systems, sensors and robot- ics, Swiftships enlisted the university to provide the Anaconda with unmanned technology.
Working together since 2012, Swifts- hips and ULL have created a “Sensor Bot on Water” that can navigate without hu- man interaction, using GPS/sensory data instead of pre-programmed way points.
The Anaconda was used to conduct mis- sions during training at Emerald Warrior
Challenge 2013, a two-week tactical ex- ercise on the Gulf Coast sponsored by the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Special-Ops personnel from around the world gather yearly on the Gulf to par- ticipate in that exercise for urban and ir- regular warfare settings.
February’s demo of the remotely con- trolled AN-2 on the Atchafalaya was the fi rst step in developing Swiftships autonomous watercraft, Shah said. On
Feb. 18, Swiftships and ULL employees, along with news reporters, U.S. Rep.
Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and U.S.
Department of Commerce trade special-
By Susan Buchanan
Swiftships Unveils USV with the
University of Louisiana-Lafayette
PATROL BOAT REPORT 46 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • MARCH 2014 (Continued on page 49)
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