A team of researchers at massachusetts institute of technology are working on what they call SCOUTS (Surface Crafts for Oceanographic and Undersea Testing). Built into kayaks, the robotic boats are intended to become parts of autonomous teams which can be used for mine clearing, rescue and other operations. Ultimately, the technology developed will also be used by autonomous underwater vehicles, so the military are obviously interested in the research.
“In order to be effective with robots in the water, you’d best not have a plan that relies on a lot of communication,” [MIT research engineer Joseph] Curcio said. “To be effective with a fleet of vehicles and have them do something intelligent, what you really need to do is have the software be so robust that communication between the vehicles can be kept to a minimum.”