Caterpillar, Serco join forces on NOMARS unmanned surface vessel

US-headquartered marine solutions provider Caterpillar Marine has joined forces with compatriot provider of technology, engineering, and management services Serco to work on No Manning Required Ship (NOMARS) unmanned surface vessel.


As informed, the project is developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The partners will use the opportunity to advance the use of autonomous vessels for naval applications.

Autonomous unmanned vessels represent an opportunity to protect crews from the inhospitable, dangerous environment encountered at sea.

According to Caterpillar, this technological advancement not only promotes safety but also cost savings, as eliminating crew quarters and onboard living requirements reduces shipbuilding costs.

Caterpillar further noted that its marine-certified engines hold the distinction of meeting the rigorous reliability, durability, performance monitoring and speed requirements to operate at sea at 90% availability for one year without manned intervention. 

“We’re excited to be part of one of the most important technological disruptions in the maritime industry,” commented Randy Tymofichuck, vice president and general manager of Caterpillar Defense at Caterpillar Inc.

“Beyond naval applications, autonomous ship designs can positively impact cargo transportation and energy sectors as well to help strengthen the supply chains for each.”

“Captains and maintenance crews are essential for any maritime application, and we can enable them to do their jobs more safely by employing autonomous vessels,” added Ryan Maatta, chief marine engineer and marine engineering manager at Serco.

“Over the years, we’ve experienced the reliability, dependability and performance of Cat engines in our ship designs and Caterpillar’s technology brings all those factors to bear in this project plus impressive technical support.” 

Caterpillar wants to include autonomous applications and expand beyond the maritime industry to include onshore mining, sonar and space applications.