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Wednesday, March 31, 2021 

Boston, US-based Sea Machines Robotics and New Zealand company HamiltonJet have signed an agreement to develop a new pilot-assist product that the companies say will use computer vision and autonomous command and control technologies to move waterjet vessels to the forefront of 21st century navigation and utility.

By combining the capabilities of Sea Machines’ autonomy platform with HamiltonJet propulsion systems and vessel controls, the partners will be able to offer a helm-based system that reduces manual workload, automates navigation control, increases safety and manages many aspects of routine while allowing crew to focus on complex and high-value activities.

HamiltonJet MD Ben Reed said: “HamiltonJet and Sea Machines have developed a concept that utilises on-board autonomy with enhanced situational awareness (through cameras, radar, AIS, GPS, etc.) in a way that is highly desirable in many manned applications. But we knew it had to be well integrated at the helm and easy for mariners to use. The skipper experience is foundational to our products, so we saw that by partnering, we could deliver a HamiltonJet-branded solution that feels like a native part of our controls. We work with a variety of autonomy providers around the world, but we feel Sea Machines is the best partner for this product due to their commercial focus and rapidly expanding technical capabilities.”

Sea Machines’ CEO Michael G Johnson said: “Sea Machines is pleased to again partner with HamiltonJet, the leader in water-jet propulsion systems for workboats and utility craft. We are joining forces to marry proven autonomous-command and situational-awareness technologies with front-running waterjet propulsion systems and vessel controls to ultimately enhance and modernise the pilot experience. Like other disruptive technologies, it won’t be too long before this becomes standard and we wonder how we lived without. We look forward to delivering it to market and elevating the total industry as a result alongside HamiltonJet.”

Currently under development, the pilot-assist product is expected to be operational in 2022. In the near future it will be fully embedded in HamiltonJet’s Advanced Vessel Control (AVX) program.

In 2019, Sea Machines and HamiltonJet successfully commissioned an SM300 autonomous control system aboard a HamiltonJet-powered workboat in New Zealand. HamiltonJet continues to trial this marine technology and provides on-demand customer demonstrations in the Southern Hemisphere. HamiltonJet’s commercial customers primarily operate in the marine security, survey, search and rescue, firefighting, ferry, aquaculture and pilot boat sectors, which are all suitable candidates for Sea Machines technology.

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