Sea Machines Robotics has recently closed a new $15 million financing round with significant participation by major military shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). The investment marks one of the largest venture rounds for an advanced technology company serving the marine and maritime industries, and was led by Accomplice with further participation by Toyota AI Ventures, Brunswick Corp., NextGen Venture Partners and others.
Thanks to this investment, which is part of HII’s expansion into the rapidly growing unmanned maritime systems industry, Sea Machines will be able to further accelerate the development of its autonomous systems and self-piloting technologies for ocean-going vessels and workboats.
Sea Machines’ autonomous systems increase productivity of vessel operations by providing active domain perception and navigation capabilities. Working under the command of a human operator, the systems take on the long-duration and often repetitive control duties, boosting the predictability and precision of operations while lowering the risk of fatigue-related incidents. The technology also enables new capabilities on water, such as the onshore command of remote offshore vessels.
Sea Machines has deployed systems on vessels in a variety of industries, from large cargo vessels to U.S.-flag ATBs and data-collecting survey boats, oil-spill response craft, search-and-rescue (SAR), patrol and crew transfer vessels. Sea Machines systems are now operating in four of the world’s eight geographical regions and this reach is enabled through a dealer-partner program with established marine electronics integrators.
Michael G. Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines, commented: “This reinforces Sea Machines’ position as the leading developer of autonomous navigation and wireless vessel control systems. Our ability to secure significant financing during a challenging economic environment is an indicator of investors’ confidence in our ability to reshape and retool the marine industries with modern-day, advanced technologies. And being selected as technology partner by HII, a leader in every right, further affirms our course in product and market approach.”
“We are entering a phase of growth and universal interest like what was witnessed in the self-driving automotive space starting five years ago, but the difference being that marine self-piloting systems are already operationally deployed. We expect to see broad adoption of autonomous technology on water ahead of that on roads.”
Andy Green, executive vice president and president of technical solutions at HII, stated: “This investment represents our commitment to advanced innovation and competencies across the unmanned systems market. Sea Machines is making significant strides in the unmanned surface vessel (USV) industry. We want to invest in their growth and continue to form complementary partnerships across this key domain.”
Ryan Moore, partner at Accomplice, said: “Five percent of global GDP is directly fueled by the marine economy and the industry is poised for technology innovation. Michael and the Sea Machines team have achieved significant progress and this financing underscores our strong position.”