Bladerunner Drone Boat Set To Revolutionize Naval Warfare — Looks Like A Batman Prop

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The British Royal Navy tested out one of its latest drones on the River Thames in London ahead of a massive unmanned exercise called Unmanned Warrior, which will take place in October.

The Unmanned Warrior exercise will see more than 40 different drone vehicles including the Bladerunner take part in the biggest effort to test such drone systems in an operational environment. 

The Royal Navy's Bladerunner drone boat is part of its attempts to prepare for an increasingly autonomous future.

The sleek, 32ft-long Bladerunner boat is capable of hitting speeds of over 112km/h.

The Bladerunner would not look out of place on the set of the upcoming Batman movie.

However, the Bladerunner did look a bit strange as it scythed under London's Tower bridge as part of an hour long test on the Thames.

Accompanying the Bladerunner on its PR boosting run was the HMS Archer patrol ship which is armed with a 20mm cannon and three machine guns.

However, the patrol boat is a lot slower than the Bladerunner with a top speed of just 86km/h which was quite evident as the drone boat left it in its wake as they rode on the Thames.

However, despite being autonomous being capable of navigating and avoiding collisions autonomously, the Bladerunner still had a Royal NavyCoxswain at the helm due to current of Port of London bylaws, which also limited the speeds at which it could travel.

The drone boat can also be controlled via remote control.

The Bladerunner willeventually play a role in surveillance and reconnaissance for the Royal Navy.

However, the Royal Navy is quite a long way behind in terms of unmanned naval craft when compared to the USA, Russia and China.

The US Navy launched its very first self-piloting ship designed to hunt enemy submarines in April. Dubbed the Sea Hunter, the 132-foot long drone boat prototype can stay at sea for two to three months without the need for human controllers.

Read more on: #off beat
Story first published: Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 14:09 [IST]
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