The Sea Hunter is the world’s first fully autonomous warship, and it’s just passed trials – next stop official duty.


After just under a year at sea DARPA has finally completed the sea trials of the world’s first fully autonomous warship, Sea Hunter, a submarine hunting drone ship that can cross the open seas without a human crew for months at a time, and they have just officially handed over the ship’s development to their project partner, the Office of Naval Research, which has already begun fine tuning the drone’s autonomous features.


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The Navy has also renamed the drone and they now call it a “Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle,”  or MDUSV for short, which, frankly, isn’t any better than its old name, Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel, or ACTUV. I’ve also got a feeling many people will still stick to calling it Sea Hunter, that is unless the US Navy can come up with an even better nickname.


Sea Hunter Undergoing Trials


Defense contractor Leidos started building Sea Hunter in 2014 and DARPA conducted the first speed tests in April 2016, with the first operational trials last December, christening the 132-foot self-driving ship “Sea Hunter” within the same month. The drone has the ability to hunt foreign owned stealthy submarines, China and Russia are known for having big submarine fleets that both regularly penetrate US waters, such as this Russian nuclear capable drone submarine that was spotted by the Pentagon last year.


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In DARPA’s announcement, is said Sea Hunter could become a “new class of vehicle under the Navy,” and the military division plans to conduct more testing in order to develop new automated weaponry and sensor systems, new mission specific autonomous behaviours and autonomous coordination with, eventually, other multiple Sea Hunters, and if the Navy wants to deploy a fleet of submarine-hunting drones, which they probably will, then they’ll need to be able to add those capabilities to Sea Hunter’s features, especially the last one.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

  • Robert Bruch, MBA#1

    7th August 2018

    Hi 311: great articalds and contributions to DARPA, AI, and Inclusion. We are partnering with Attractal & Pathfinder for a global event in Lisbon in First week of November so I am inquiring if we can set up a call to learn more about 311. One of our primary focus will include Blockchain.

    Let me know if you are available to set up a call.


    • Matthew Griffin#2

      6th January 2019

      Hi Robert

      Sorry for this but this went into the spam folder on the site along with 447,000 other filtered messages (99.99999% of which are spam!), I hope the event went well,



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