Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV)

Find Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) companies and suppliers of unmanned surface vessels, USV boats and unmanned sea vehicles for hydrographic survey, oceanographic research and other military applications
Overview Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV)
By Staff Writer Last updated: June 3rd, 2024

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV)

Q-Boat 1250 Portable USV

Teledyne Marine Q-Boat 1250 Portable USV

Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) are water-borne vessels that are capable of operating on the surface of the water without any onboard human operators. Originally created by retrofitting previously manned craft with radio controls, a wide variety of purpose-built unmanned surface vehicles are now available. USVs are more versatile than buoys but less costly than fully manned craft, making them popular for a range of marine applications.

Unmanned Surface Vessel Applications

USVs can be linked together as part of a swarm with individual craft acting as a node in a communications or sensor network, allowing them to be used as a force multiplier either for defense applications such as minesweeping or patrolling, or completing scientific surveying or sampling missions more rapidly.

Military applications for USVs include border and littoral zone patrol, minesweeping, submarine hunting, ISR, seaborne targets and offensive capabilities. USVs are also used in commercial sectors such as oceanography and environmental sciences, exploration and the oil and gas industry.

Oceanalpha Unmanned Surface Vehicles
Oceanalpha Unmanned Surface Vehicles

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Sensors & Payloads

Due to the lack of crew, an unmanned or autonomous surface vehicle can be outfitted with more sensors and equipment than an equivalently-sized manned craft. Such equipment may include sonar, imaging systems, radar, ISR systems, environmental sensors and dataloggers, weapons payloads, or a small unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). Equipment may also be towed behind the USV.

M75 High Speed Security Patrol USV
Oceanalpha M75 High Speed Security Patrol USV

USV Boat Deployment and Control

Unmanned surface vessels can be deployed from shore or from the deck of a larger ship and can also be used to deploy smaller UUVs. USVs can be controlled remotely by a human operator and may also have autonomous functionality. ASVs (autonomous surface vehicles) can be set to intelligently follow pre-programmed routes and waypoints. Many USVs can alternate between full autonomy, semi-autonomy or set to manual control.

C-Cat 3 Small Multipurpose Work USV
C-Cat 3 Small Multipurpose Work USV by L3 ASV
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