China launches drone vessels that act as motherships for more drones

China has launched a huge “drone ship” that is seemingly designed for marine research purposes. Claimed to have an advanced artificial intelligence operating system that allows at least semi-autonomous operation, the ship can also be used in military situations as a hub for a variety of unmanned weapons and surveillance systems.

The news of the launch on May 18 is South China Morning Post. Named ship Zhu Haiyun, Widely reported as the world’s first unmanned drone ship, based on reports by South China Morning Post. Unmanned surface ships, or other examples of USVs, have become quite common in recent years, Zhu Haiyun Is said to boast a custom artificial intelligence (AI) operating system that supports the mothership function of various unmanned platforms such as aerial drones and submersibles. These combined features will make it a powerful marine research tool, as reported by. Science and Technology Daily – Official Journal of Ministry of Technology of China – South China Morning Post.. Obviously, it could also have major military uses.

According to Chen Dake, director of the Southern Guangdong Institute for Marine Science and Engineering (Zhuhai) at Sun Yat-sen University, which is responsible for the development of the ship’s AI system, the ship constitutes a new “ocean species” and is an Intelligent Mobile Ocean. Stereo Observing System (IMOSOS).

Quoted in Science and Technology Daily In 2021, Chen emphasized the revolutionary potential of the ship as the neural center of a series of interconnected observational functions.

“Intelligent unmanned vessels … will revolutionize ocean observations.”

The Huangpu Wenchong Shipping Company, which built the ship, claims that once deployed, unmanned aerial vehicles, boats, and submersibles can be used to perform “three-dimensional dynamic observations” of specific areas of interest. Huangpu Wenchong is a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), the largest shipbuilding company in China.

Construction Zhu Haiyun It started in July 2021 in Guangzhou, northwestern Hong Kong. The ship is 290 feet long, 46 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Featuring a large deck, it can carry a variety of platforms. The ship can sail at a top speed of 18 knots and has a design displacement of 2,000 tons.

probably, Zhu Haiyun It also shows that the ship may operate semi-autonomously. To navigate a congested port area, the crew controls the ship’s navigation system via remote control or at least by physically witnessing the ship to monitor the ship during these complex navigation stages. To do. In this sense, ship control is divided between human operators and autonomous AI systems.

After the test and sea trial are completed Zhu Haiyun It will be delivered by the end of 2022.

The combination of the ship’s new AI system and the ability to carry various unmanned functions makes the ship an important tool for ocean observations. Science and Technology Daily, It has important capabilities for China’s marine protection and disaster prevention.yet Zhu HaiyunAI and drone hauling capabilities have the potential to perform secondary military functions in that they search for targets of particular interest and coordinate permanent surveillance of those targets.

Other Chinese companies have already begun developing unmanned surface vessels for security-specific missions. In late 2021, Yunzhou Tech, the leading developer of unmanned aerial vehicles, announced six high-speed unmanned aerial vehicles designed to “quickly intercept, siege, and expel” unspecified maritime intruders. Its “dynamic collaborative confrontation technology” or “swarming” technology allows drone vessels to collaboratively engage hostile targets without the need for manual control. In 2018, Yunzhou Tech co-demonstrated a huge herd of 56 unmanned vessels for various conflict management and resolution tests. Zhu HaiyunOr such other ships, can theoretically adjust the drone swarm of these types of ships.

The ability to collect “three-dimensional dynamic observations” proves to be especially important if the Chinese Navy is involved in a conflict in the Pacific Ocean. As a USS report Connecticut Accidents are emphasized, but very accurate underwater navigation data is especially important for the safe operation of submarines under the waves.Accurate charts of seafloor topography are readily available, thanks to vessels such as: Zhu HaiyunChinese submarines will be able to improve mission planning and navigation flexibility.

again, Zhu Haiyun It will also grow on the waves. With wide-area surveillance with the potential for shared geographic location, the Chinese Navy uses swarms of drones to seek out and directly target enemy vessels and other objects of interest within the vast Pacific Ocean. can. Or other weapons. These are capabilities that are likely to be important in future conflicts that China will engage in, including the islands of Taiwan. A recent U.S. military wargame over a scenario involving Taiwan’s defense will be provided by a swarm of drones on the other side when used as a decentralized sensing network, as you can read more here. It highlights immeasurable value.

The Chinese government has recently invested significant resources in research and development of unmanned technology (including warming capabilities) and AI / machine learning. At the same time, it has been working on a swarm capability for small drones and a platform that allows aerial drones to be fielded at sea. Just last year, it was revealed that China launched a catamaran mothership aimed at attacking and recovering a fleet of small aerial drones and conducting electronic communications attacks on vessels for training and wartime use potential. became.

During launch Zhu Haiyun Especially reported by state publications as a victory for China’s marine research, this is not the first time China has announced a new marine technology with secondary military functions as “marine research.” For example, in 2017, news emerged that China plans to establish a network of underwater sensors, which may have been used in anti-submarine warfare for “environmental research” on the surface.Also, in 2020 War zone Also The state-owned Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported that the use of “sea wings” UUVs may have been used for purposes other than environmental research.

At the same time, it is important to note the following: Zhu Haiyun Only one ship. However, the experience gained in its development, construction, and final employment, regardless of how it is used, is in other commercial and military areas related to unmanned surface vessels, autonomy, and other related technologies. It will surely be reflected in the work. This feature, as an experimental technique demonstrator that is somewhat similar to ships tested as part of the U.S. military’s Ghost Fleet Overload Program, is just as important as it may perform in operation. There may be.

Zhu Haiyun Obviously, it has great potential for maritime defense, both in terms of defending weapons and obtaining critical surveillance.Whatever the purpose of the ship Eventually it will work in a military context, and its launch will dominate AI, especially in terms of using AI to address defense and national security concerns, and unmanned technology. Emphasizes the recent efforts of.

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