Nauticus Robotics, Inc. (“Nauticus” or the “Company”), a developer of autonomous robots using artificial intelligence for data collection and intervention services for the ocean economies, today announced its successful completion of a live offshore demonstration with the U.S. Navy of its AI-enhanced mine countermeasure vehicle.
The achievement advanced Nauticus to the next phase of the Defense Innovation Unit’s (“DIU”) Autonomous Explosive Ordinance Disposal (“EOD”) Maritime Response Vehicle (“AEMRV”) program. The AEMRV represents one of two Nauticus programs with the DIU – a Department of Defense organization that strengthens the national security by accelerating the adoption of leading commercial technology throughout the military and growing the national security innovation base.
In February 2022, DIU commissioned Nauticus to transform an existing mine countermeasure platform into an untethered autonomous drone to remotely identify and neutralize subsea mines and other targets of interest and take U.S. Navy EOD divers out of harm’s way in the process. Mine warfare is a global threat and can disrupt supply chains, logistics, and critical subsea infrastructure.
The Company integrated its software package, toolKITT, into a subsea vehicle used in an existing program of record. The AI-enabled software allows untethered vehicle operations while adhering to open architecture principles. The heavily modified remotely operated vehicle will allow U.S. Navy EOD divers to safely perform previously life-threatening duties by identifying and neutralizing underwater mines at greater stand-off distances than previously thought possible. To demonstrate the remotely operated vehicle’s enhanced capabilities, Nauticus completed a live testing event in San Diego and successfully progressed to the next stage of the program.
“Our premier software platform, toolKITT, will enable the U.S. Navy to use an enhanced, autonomous vehicle with state-of-the-art adaptive functionality. We are honored to have been given the opportunity and deliver on providing the U.S. Navy with a revolutionary underwater vehicle behaviors that optimizes both functionality and safety,” said Nicolaus Radford, CEO of Nauticus. “We are committed to supporting DIU to bring autonomy to the forefront of defense problem-solving.”
The new capabilities Nauticus brings to the DIU program include the following:
- Untethered Operations: Integration of onboard power, acoustic communications, and edge processing hardware enables operators to supervise the vehicle remotely, providing enhanced safety and operational capability for the warfighter.
- Autonomous Operations: AI technology allows the unit to classify objects and execute tasks without direct human commands, including precision vehicle positioning and EOD tool placement.
- AI at the Edge: Computer vision automatically detects objects of interest on the ocean floor and in the water column.
- Open Architecture: Maximization of modular, open architecture to optimize the vehicle's functionality.