Source: Defense One – Patrick Tucker – The Navy is using robot ships to deter human smuggling out of Haiti

4th Fleet’s experiments with unmanned systems are a “game changer” for monitoring illicit activity, commander says

The U.S. Navy, working with the Coast Guard, has been operating seven surface drones off of the northern coast of Haiti to monitor illegal human smuggling by sea, an increasingly deadly practice that claims hundreds of lives per year.

But the sea drones are doing more than helping the Navy keep watch over the Caribbean, Rear Adm. James Aiken, the commander of U.S. 4th Fleet, told Defense One.

“They actually served as a deterrent, and folks who would actually run a migration ship north—maybe into the United States or somewhere else into the Caribbean—no longer did it, because they realized that they were being watched,” he said. (…)

While every service and geographic combatant command is doing some work with unmanned systems, 4th Fleet, which sails the Caribbean, Central and South America, and surrounding waters, has emerged as a leader in bringing artificial intelligence and robotics into large-scale exercises and operation. Last April, the Navy’s then-leader, Adm. Michael Gilday, singled out 4th Fleet to lead a series of experiments to test new concepts in human and machine teaming at sea.


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Photo:  Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessels (USV) operate with USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), HMS Bangor (M109), HMS Chiddingfold (M37) and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) in the Arabian Gulf during exercise Phantom Scope, Oct. 7 2022 © Chief Petty Officer Roland Franklin, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet (as referred to in ibid)