World’s first fleet of marine drones being tested in the Mediterranean
By Agence France-Presse Saturday, July 27, 2013 11:48 EDT
"An odd underwater ballet has been unfolding in the Mediterranean port of Toulon these past few days.
Under the scrutiny of their masters, whose eyes are glued to computer screens, the world’s first fleet of “marine drones” is being put through its paces.
Five European countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal — have sent prototypes here under a four-year, four-million-euro ($5.32-million) programme to build a squad of unmanned underwater rovers. Deployed from a surface vessel, but communicating among themselves and using artificial intelligence, the wireless scouts would spread out in a surveillance network."
Shades of the CoralBot, we think this news underscores what we have been trying to tell the public about the CoralBot. The European military is already operating parts of the key technology but if you look at the pictures of the military version at the linked in Agence France Presse site you will note the decided lack of arms. These military diving bots won't be fixing coral reefs and don't look for any military funding for the CoralBot. The artificial intelligence technology is there, the swarm intelligence and communications technology is already well developed. The CoralBot is all about a different configuration. But it costs money and money is not flowing to conservation efforts right now, unless it comes voluntarily directly from the public. There is little government or industrial interest in fixing coral reefs.