Metal Shark partners with ASV Global to offer autonomous vessels

A SHARKTECH-equipped 38 Defiant autonomous vessel testing near Metal Shark’s Jeanerette, Louisiana headquarters. Photo: Metal Shark/Business Wire

US-based boat builder Metal Shark has teamed up with autonomous vessel technology developer ASV Global to offer an entire range of autonomous vessels. 

The autonomous technology – named “Sharktech” – is offered on Metal Shark’s entire portfolio of vessels, which range from 16’ to over 300’ in aluminum, steel, and composite.

Sharktech autonomous vessels may be custom configured for military, law enforcement, fire rescue, and commercial markets, the company says.

“The industry has watched and waited as autonomous technology has matured from its fledgling stages, and today we’re offering ASV Global’s fully proven autonomous capability on our entire model lineup,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “We are demystifying and streamlining the process of autonomous technology integration by bringing this capability to market in turnkey form straight from the OEM. Check the box and get the option, on our full range of globally proven designs.”

In addition to waypoint navigation and the execution of pre-programmed mission routes, Sharktech’s ASView onboard digital control system features dynamic collision avoidance with a decision-making capability. Depending on configuration, the system considers data from multiple situational awareness inputs, including multiple radars, 360-degree daylight and thermal cameras, and AIS to safely identify and steer clear of stationary and moving obstacles.

“The ASView control system offers multiple modes including unmanned operations, reduced manned operations, or conventional manned operations. In addition, ASV Global can assist with mission payload and sensor integration, control, and remote supervision,” Thomas Chance, CEO of ASV Global, said.

Sharktech’s ASView system allows for autonomous or remote operation of navigation and safety lighting, hailers and sirens, pumps, and other components. The system also supports the integration and autonomous or remote operation of a range of specialized equipment, including fire pumps, monitors, and other fire-fighting equipment; hydrographic survey equipment; equipment for acoustic, oceanographic, or meteorological monitoring; and the full spectrum of FLIRs and other specialty cameras.

The vessel’s operations may be monitored from a mother ship via radio link, or from shore via satellite link. In the instance of lost primary and backup communications, the vessel will assume pre-programmed behavior, such as station-keeping. Other safety features include geo-fence tools, emergency-stop buttons, and the ability to switch from autonomous to manual control at any time.

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