The US Navy's Office of Naval Research has demonstrated the ability of drone patrol boats to protect Allied harbors from potential threats. The boats operated completely autonomously without the participation of operators.
The Swarm 2 project involved four small, autonomous patrol boats capable of operating as part of a group. When an unknown vessel was found, they assessed the situation and took appropriate measures - detained it or let it pass by. Armament on drone boats is not yet available.
Group actions of unmanned boats were first demonstrated in 2014, when they simulated protection of an expensive ship from a conditional attack. According to senior representatives of the US Navy, autonomous vessels will be able to carry out escort missions, deliver cargo to the shore and clear mines.
There are two main uses for patrol boat groups. The first option involves the exchange between all members of the group of information received from the radar of at least one of the boats. When implementing the second option, UAV boats must be able to make the right joint decisions.
The boat control functions are performed by special CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing) equipment installed on each boat. Its effectiveness will become clear only after the completion of the entire test program.