Navy working with Florida researchers on “mothership” drones to protect the coast

DANIA BEACH, Fl. - A group of researchers from Florida Atlantic University are working with the Navy to develop robotic boats to help launch both aerial and underwater drones.

Last month the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University announced it had been awarded a $1.25 million grant by the Office of Naval Research for the project.

Over a five-year-span, the project will support "autonomous unmanned marine vehicle platforms for coastal surveillance, coastal surveys, target tracking and protection of at-sea assets," according to the university.

“Our project is based on developing these unmanned surface vehicles which can act as motherships in the sense that they can launch and recover these vehicles as well as provide power to it” Dr. Manhar Dhanak, principal investigator of the award, told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo Tuesday.

Unmanned underwater vehicles have key advantages over other platforms, including anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and persistent surveillance.

The Navy also finds them beneficial for cost-savings and ability to provide almost constant surveillance of an area, while also helping to keep Sailors out of dangerous situations.