China unveils autonomous mothership of autonomous drones

China launches an autonomous mothership with a fleet of autonomous drones
China has christened the world’s very first semi-autonomous drone ship, a 290 foot vessel. It will carry, launch and recover more than 50 autonomous aerial, surface, and underwater vehicles.

Huangpu Wenchong Shipyard started construction of the Zhu Hai Yun in Guangzhou last July. South China Morning Post reports that it is the first of its kind. It’s a self contained autonomous platform, which will be able to roll out everything needed to perform a fully-integrated operation, including drone aircrafts, boats, and submersibles.

China does not expect the Zhu Hai Yun to be able to navigate busy seaports on its own, as we did with the Japanese autonomous container vessel Suzaku last week. The Zhu Hai Yun is controlled remotely until it reaches open water. Its self-driving system will then take over and complete the mission.