Not just luxury cars and engines - this week British company Rolls-Royce announced the construction of a fully autonomous naval vessel. This is a new type of drone, which is not inferior in size and functionality to conventional ships of the Royal Navy. And he can become a part of it in 10 years.
Rolls-Royce is going to make not so much a ship as a marine robot that will have a special, marine AI and will be able to change its roles as the mission progresses. By default, this is a watchman, patrolman, scout or courier, which develops a speed of up to 25 knots and has a range of up to 3500 nautical miles. The concept of autonomy in his case is somewhat limited, the maximum period of operation without maintenance is only 100 days, but the costs of operating the robot are minimal.
The key element of the novelty is the power plant. She is fully electric, with a capacity of 1.5 MW, with two Rolls-Royce MTU 4000 diesel generators, plus the ship is equipped with a large number of solar panels and batteries with a capacity of 3000 kWh. AI uses an impressive arsenal of sensors to accumulate, redistribute and save energy depending on the current conditions. And one of his priorities is to avoid dependence on constant refueling.
The weapons on board are tactfully silent, probably not at all. But such a ship can be equipped with reconnaissance equipment or turned into a "mother drone", a small analogue of an aircraft carrier with a detachment of multicopters on board. There will be no people on board at all, which opens up opportunities to carry out tactically complex and risky military operations.
The British Navy showed interest in the project, but hastened to fence itself off from the press with a wall of silence on all details.