Unmanned Marine Systems Division
Israel's long border on the Mediterranean Sea makes autonomous marine vehicles a necessity. The sea is a source of economic and research opportunities, but it is vital to guard against hostile intruders. Autonomous marine and submarine vehicles are already helping in tasks ranging from marine research and ecological monitoring to surveying and surveillance. These applications can be extended to actual interdiction missions, decoys against enemy missiles (remember, for example, that an Israeli vessel was almost sunk by an Iranian missile off the coast of Beirut in 2006).
Unmanned marine vehicles could be used to search for downed aircraft, sinking ships, and valuable minerals; to inspect underwater cables; and to monitor marine life, temperatures, salinity, and currents. Advanced autonomous deep sea vessels can enable search-and-rescue operations in deep waters without endangering additional personnel. They could also carry out mine sweeping operations and defense applications.
Marine vehicles face special navigation and communication challenges. Power sources, sensors, and data collection, storage, and transmission device must be sealed against water leakage, able to withstand deep sea pressure, and able to function for long periods underwater. Furthermore, groups of autonomous ground or marine vehicles must be able to operate as a team. Individual vehicles can be equipped with different capabilities and work together to complete the mission plan, each contributing according to its particular specifications. Because vehicles may periodically lose contact with one another in difficult conditions, it is necessary to develop robust communication and distributed systems applications.