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Forget Self-Driving Cars: This 190-Foot Autonomous Superyacht Concept Can Self-Sail the High Seas

There’s a captainless cruiser on the horizon.

DLBA Naval Architects Autonomous Superyacht Concept: Tempo DLBA Naval Architects

What if you could do away with your captain and turn his quarters into your new billiards room? That fun—albeit overly confident—fantasy may not be that far off, thanks to some revolutionary new tech developed by DLBA Naval Architects.

While we’ve certainly seen our share of autonomous cars, we have seldom come across a self-sailing superyacht. That all changed today when the Virginia-based engineering firm unveiled a 190-foot superyacht concept designed to be largely autonomous.

The vessel, known as Tempo, will integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into different aspects of its design. This promises to not only improve the onboard experience, but it will also mean that some systems can be operated without human assistance.

There are three core areas in which the autonomous tech will be focused: navigational autonomy, equipment health monitoring, and mechanical and electrical systems automation. Optimizing these three branches with AI will have a profound effect on the operation of the superyacht, namely maximizing efficiency and reducing maintenance costs.

DLBA Naval Architects Autonomous Superyacht Concept: Tempo

How DLBA envisions the AI equipment will work on different types of vessels that employ remote monitoring systems. 

Tempo’s autonomous navigation system takes data from onboard sensors—much like a self-driving car—and pairs it with other information sources, like GPS, radar, weather charts and video cameras, to guide the vessel on the safest and most efficient path. This allows the captain—turns out, you may still need him—to focus on other, more important things.

Furthermore, Tempo’s automated mechanical and electrical system is practically like having an onboard engineering team at your fingertips. The AI monitors the superyacht’s vitals at a sub-system level, so things like valve orientation, turning on and off electrical equipment breakers, starting and stopping pumps, or addressing system faults can be achieved simply with the push of a button.

On top of this, the autonomous equipment health monitoring system captures real-time diagnostics to identify potential mechanical faults in advance. This means less work for your crew and a far more reliable superyacht.

While unmanned vessels have been operating in the commercial and military space for some time, Tempo represents a major leap within the private superyacht world. Indeed, her very moniker is tied to the increased operational tempo of which the AI is possible. This uptick in speed and efficiency will give superyacht captains and crew more time and freedom to pursue other tasks. Best brush up on your snooker skills now, gents.

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