DHS and partners continue to assess autonomous vessels


A cross-sectoral assessment team led by the Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) of the Department of Homeland Security plans to continue testing autonomous vessels built by Ocean Aero for the remainder of the summer.

The acceptance testing is part of a collaborative effort between eight organizations to demonstrate solar and wind-powered unmanned surface vehicles and submarines for maritime border security and enforcement missions law, the DHS S&T said on Wednesday.

Efforts are underway at the University of Southern Mississippi Marine Research Center to assess the navigation, surface and dive capabilities of six Triton vessels.

S&T is collaborating with USM, Ocean Aero, Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs, Naval Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory, and Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute on the test program.

Ocean Aero developed the Triton system under a multi-million dollar management agreement and delivered the first vessel to USM MRC in November 2020.

Management noted that sea trials at Gulfport will continue until early fall once NRL and ARL equip the watercraft with sensors.