UUV will have AI, geospatial info built in to hunt mines and other sea hazards

HORSHAM, U.K. Geospatial and data company Envitia -- together with partner BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, has won a contract to embark on one of the first artificial-intelligence (AI) projects for the British navy: To develop and deliver an AI-equipped unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) that will hunt underwater mines.

The U.K. Royal Navy's Route Survey Tasking & Analytics (RSTA) project will adopt autonomous vehicles -- built using open architectures and AI -- that will enable an unmanned capability to perform routine mine countermeasure tasks in U.K. waters; the submersible is expected to be delivered by the year 2022.

According to Envitia documents, mine hunting is currently carried out by a fleet of ships that use sonar to survey seabeds looking for anomalies; the new AI-enabled submersibles, however, will be much quicker in being able to scan an object, identify the threat, and decide what to do with it. The company is also building its maritime geospatial toolkit into the application, to ensure that RSTA has accurate and up-to-date maritime data for each mission.

Image of the REMUS 100 AUV used by Royal Navy (Credit: Hydroid, Inc.)