Metal Shark introduces autonomous ships to vessel lineup

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 17:38:43-04

Jeanerette-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has teamed up with autonomous vessel technology developer ASV Global to introduce “Sharktech” Autonomous Vessels.

According to the company, Metal Shark is now offering Sharktech autonomous technology on its entire lineup of vessels, which range from 16’ to over 300’ in aluminum, steel, and composite. Sharktech autonomous vessels, according to the company can be custom made for military, law enforcement, fire rescue, and commercial use.

“The industry has watched and waited as autonomous technology has matured from its fledgling stages, and today we’re offering ASV Global’s fully proven autonomous capability on our entire model lineup,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “We are demystifying and streamlining the process of autonomous technology integration by bringing this capability to market in turnkey form straight from the OEM. Check the box and get the option, on our full range of globally proven designs.”

ASV says they are proud to partner with the Louisiana-made business to bring their tech to the market.

“The ASView control system offers multiple modes including unmanned operations, reduced manned operations, or conventional manned operations.  In addition, ASV Global can assist with mission payload and sensor integration, control, and remote supervision,” said Thomas Chance, CEO of ASV Global. 

Allard says that Sharktech could be used for "dangerous missions in remote or hostile environments, endurance missions, or for any mission simply undesirable for a human crew.”

Metal Shark says the technology features collision avoidance and decision-making capabilities and remote operation along with many other components suitable for specialized work.

"Depending on configuration, the system considers data from multiple situational awareness inputs, including multiple radars, 360-degree daylight and thermal cameras, and AIS to safely identify and steer clear of stationary and moving obstacles," a press release states.

“While autonomous technology is perhaps most commonly associated with military applications, its value to commercial operators cannot be overlooked,” said Mr. Allard. “Sharktech’s benefits for safety, crew reduction, endurance, and CONOPS flexibility are unprecedented in our industry, and we are only scratching the surface of its potential applications.”

Metal Shark and ASV Global will be showcasing the new boats at the 2018 Multi Agency Craft Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in July. Boats are already being pre-engineered to handle the new tech in anticipation for the demand.