DARPA To Begin Testing Its Sub-Hunting Drone Ship

Technology is getting smarter, it is now getting to the point where technology can start doing things that would often require a human such as deliver pizzas. DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) is keen on seeing this automated technology makes its way into the battlefield. Recently DARPA revealed its Anti-submarine warfare continuous trail unmanned vessel (named ACTUV for short), a sub-hunting drone ship that can operate without a human crew, and it now seems like they are already testing out what it can do.

ACTUV is already in testing and has already passed its speed tests. Designed to go at 31mph, the ACTUV met these expectations and have left people wondering what the next text may be. The ACTUV is designed to track foreign submarines and will then follow them, the ultimate hope being of either forcing them to emerge or retreat.

The ACTUV was also designed to do more than just hunt subs, with it being able to transport deliveries and perform long-term sea reconnaissance missions, all the while freeing up a human crew for duty aboard another vessel.

You can see the ACTUV launch and test out its speed in the video below. Luckily for those in fear of the robots going to the kill us, the ship isn’t equipped with any weaponry and is purely an advance reconnaissance vessel, no combat use what so ever, a reassurance I’m sure many will be happy with.

Boeing’s Echo Voyager Can Last Six Months Underwater

Boeing is known for creating a wide range of devices. A surveillance drone here, a giant rocket there and a sprinkling of the world’s lightest metal all over creates a company that seems to explore everything on this planet and beyond. That seems to continue to be true with the Echo Voyager’s, a craft capable of lasting six months underwater.

The Echo Voyager is the latest in a long-range of underwater exploration vehicles from Boeing. The big difference in the latest 51-foot version, compared to its smaller cousins the 31ft Seeker and the 18ft Ranger, is the use of a rechargeable power system. Measuring at 7.4 miles per gallon, the volt uses a diesel generator to recharge its lithium-ion or silver zinc batteries when it reaches the surface (this avoids the exhaust being pumped into the water).

The Echo Voyager is designed for commercial release, giving companies and individuals alike to explore the depths of the ocean. Built to use standard commercial interface and satellite links, you could own your own remote-controlled underwater explorer.

Typically underwater vehicles could only spend a few days away from a ship before needing to resupply and recharge, some even opting for an “umbilical cord” solution of constantly providing the resources needed via a cable or tube. The Echo Voyager could see groups operating more autonomous from larger vessels, opening up new ways to explore the mysteries of the deep.

UK Nuclear Submarines Use Windows XP

Technology changes all the time, and operating systems are no different. From the era of DOS and punch cards to modern day touch screens and augmented reality, you can find every generation making their mark in a new way. With Windows 8 no longer receiving updates people are recommended to update to either 8.1 or Windows 10 to avoid security risks. The problem being, Nuclear Submarines use Windows XP still.

With the argument raging regarding if the UK still requires nuclear submarines, the large cost of which is a key part of the argument, cutting a few pounds here and there can only be good right? In a recent decision, the Royal Navy installed a variant of Windows XP (Windows for Submarines) onto their Vanguard-Class Submarines.

While operating in isolation and with so many years of updates and security investigations on the operating system, the Ministry of Defence is confident that the system will “remain safe and secure”. This comes amongst a series of wargames and exercises designed to help test and train people from across the world, all while concerns about submarines long term “stealth abilities” are being questioned due to the addition of swarms of drones and new systems being developed to counter them.

Networks are most at risk due to their access from external sources, and while cutting down on these is a great first step you will always be at risk. Using outdated software is risky, no matter how much support has been put into it but with more and more research and development being made into these systems you can be certain that anything they find will quickly be fixed.

DARPA Working on Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel

DARPA is said to be working on an Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, which is said to be the first robotic autonomous vessel designed to locate and track even the most quiet diesel submarines at the most extreme depths.

The national security, health and engineering company, Leidos, is part of the DARPA program tasked with building the ACTUV. Based in Reston, Virginia, the company is said to have been granted the ‘OK’ back in February in order to start work on the autonomous unmanned vessel, having it built at Christensen Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, under the supervision of Leidos and Oregon Iron Works. Actual work on the vessel is said to take 15 months, with a launch date set for 2015 on the Columbia River.

“ACTUV’s advanced sensor technology should allow for continuous surveillance which, combined with the vessel architecture and design, is expected to provide autonomous safe navigation supporting Navy missions around the world,” says Leidos Group President, John Fratamico.

The ACTUV is said to be built out of carbon composite, using a modular design and a parallel workflow method in order to speed up assembly. In addition to the latter, the ACTUV is equipped with navigation and piloting sensors, electro-optics, as well as long and short-range radar. Leidos states tat the ACTUV’s modular design allows it to carry out anti-submarine warfare operations, having the ability to be refitted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well.

Thank you Gizmag for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Gizmag

High School Kid Has Built A Fully-Functional One-Man Submarine

This week I installed a new home network, it took me two days and involved switches, routers and about a 100m of cat6 cable, I was pretty damn pleased with myself for the end result, but some please, that’s not enough. Justin Beckerman is one of those people, an 18 year old student from Mendham High School in New Jersey who took it upon himself to build a fully functional one-man submarine, effectively making my networking efforts look like crud.

The coolest thing about this sub is that it actually works, he’s already managed to take it to six feet underwater and while that might not be enough to beat James Cameron’s deep sea dive record, it’s incredible that he built it and tested it successfully.

Justin is no new comer to tinkering with hardware and has had a lifetime of toying with building mini jet-engines, remote controlled vehicles, vacuums and more from household scrap and while this may not be his first attempt at a submarine, it’s certainly his best so far having had two failed attempts before.

The submarine uses grooved plastics and piping and other lightweight scrap materials. It took 11 months to design and build the submarine in his basement, where he also had to construct a custom card to hold and carry the sub. It’s even fitted out with a radio, breathing system, back-up batteries and room to seat one person. His next goal is a depth of 30ft and I wish him the best of luck.

Images courtesy of DamnGeeky