The U.S. Navy is not only developing robotic warships but also teaching them to speak,media reported. In a proposal request, the Navy outlined what it wanted to see autonomous surface ships could communicate verbally with the crews of other ships back and forth to avoid collisions. If we want unmanned surface ships (USVs) to be practical, they must operate in the real world in a way comparable to conventional ships.
This means that not only do they need to be able to go from A to B without stranding or bumping into anything, but also need to be able to handle the relationship between other maritime vehicles and the crew sons who control them.
This means that a USV must be able to comply with the International Maritime Avoidance Convention (COLREGS), which regulates how to respond to a collision between two ships. Unfortunately, however, COLREGS covers only two modes of transport. If there are three or more, things become very complicated.
While the current level of technology of u.S. Navy autonomous warships provides them with the computers and software they need to track COLREGS and avoid collisions, the robotic ship’s inability to speak has become a bottleneck, with crews relying heavily on VHF radios to communicate.
After figuring out the bottleneck, the Navy hopes to develop a system that can (in real time) accept secure broadcast bridge-to-bridge communication, then convert speech into text, convert text into a language that autonomous ships can understand, generate a navigation problem solution, and respond naturally.
In its request, the Navy expressed its desire to follow a three-phase development process. The first phase, the goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept, and by the time the initial design is completed, the technology will be integrated into a VHF radio for testing and evaluation, and the system will be further expanded to understand and respond to the language of non-native English speakers Finally, a three-month test and a sea trial.
In addition to military applications, the Navy believes the “talking ship” technology could also be used in civilian areas, such as unmanned commercial vessels, small-staff vessels and yachts that need to be operated without satellite connections.