No one will deny that the high seas are a dangerous聽place. Especially given recent tragedies, we鈥檙e really glad that a super smart group of Australian undergrads is taking self-driving technology to the ocean for a whole new level of search-and-rescue missions.

The technology already exists to get unmanned boats from one place to another, but right now these boats can鈥檛 factor in the ever-changing variables of the ocean along with the mission.

A team at聽Queensland University of Technology聽came up with a solution and they鈥檒l get a chance to flaunt their skills next month at the first ever Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore. They鈥檝e named their boat Bruce and it鈥檚 able to completely think for itself in especially dangerous situations.

The competition is fierce with 16 competitors taking on five marine missions requiring varying skill-levels and out of it, who knows? Maybe next year we鈥檒l have the聽Google Car聽of boats.

The QUT team鈥檚 adviser has a lot of faith in the potential of the project,聽saying:聽鈥淭his generation of boats will be the first to perform search-and rescue-activities in cyclonic weather, for instance, when it鈥檚 too dangerous for emergency services personnel to be on the water.鈥

We鈥檝e seen this kind of emergency technology in聽land robotics聽already. It鈥檚 the kind of innovation that could save lives of not only the rescued, but the rescuer in the case of bad weather, oil spills and plane crashes. This is some seriously life-changing technology and we鈥檙e excited to see how QUT鈥檚 Bruce and the other teams鈥 creations excel in the field of marine robotics.

What do you think are the major benefits of an autonomous search-and-rescue-boat? Let鈥檚 start a conversation in the comments!