First Crewless Ship? Umm
Elon Musk destroyed with just three letters this past week, when Norwegian-built Yara Birkeland will use GPS, radar, cameras, and sensors to navigate itself around other boat traffic and dock on its own. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, it was the "world’s first crewless, automated" ship.
(Elon Musk "Umm" re: Autonomous ship claims)
As fans of SpaceX know,
There have been three separate landing ships developed by SpaceX. The concept of an “Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship” harks back to Elon Musk’s plans for “creating a paradigm shift in the traditional approach for reusing rocket hardware” in 2009, but the contract for a refitted barge was officially announced in 2014.
The large, flat surface of the ocean barge and the ability to transport heavy payloads are necessary for the high-velocity landings of the Faclon 9 rocket. SpaceX refits the barge platforms with an extended platform measuring 170 feet by 300 feet to facilitate the 18 foot span of the landing legs and the rocket’s support supplies. The first ship featured extended wings and blast walls, but the current models no longer have these features.
According to NASA, these Marmac autonomous drone ships are outfitted with four diesel-powered azimuth thruster engines which can pivot horizontally, removing the need for a ship rudder and offering better maneuverability with a complete 360 degree range of motion for the ship controls. It was originally reported that these thrusters help hold the drone ship position within three meters of accuracy. The engines are supplied by marine equipment manufacturer Thrustmaster.
Hmm, I seem to recall Pinta the Robot Sailboat...
Via Verge and FoxTrotAlpha.
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