Navy testing robot Jet Ski for harbor patrols

Blackfish is a remote-controlled Jet Ski from Qinetiq that uses sonar and radar to patrol harbors for terrorist threats.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak

The Office of Naval Research is testing a robot Jet Ski that uses sonar, radar, and video to patrol harbors for terrorist threats.

The Blackfish was developed by military contractor Qinetic and is basically a modified Jet Ski, according to a Discovery News report. It's mainly intended to deter swimmers bent on attacking U.S. military vessels.

The remote-controlled recon device is 10 feet long and can cruise at up to 40 mph on a hydro-jet. It can also move slowly enough to detect swimmers.

The Blackfish has a 1-kilometer range but can run a course around GPS waypoints. Weaponry could be added to the system.

"In both domestic and foreign ports, there's great concern about swimmers approaching the boats underwater," the report quotes Mark Hewitt, senior vice president for maritime and transportation for Qinetiq North America, as saying. "The Navy has been working on the problem for some time."