back to article Air, sea drones put through their paces on Solent testing range

More roboats and autonomous flying machines will be tested around the Solent after a consortium of companies was handed £1.5m to set up a drone test range. The idea is to use one of Britain's most sheltered sea areas for testing robot boats and air vehicles. Nestled between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, the Solent has all …

  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

    UAVs?

    I can accept the rational for testing roboats there but it's inside Southampton's controlled air space so I'm not convinced it's great for UAV operations. Or have they got some sort of agreement with the CAA?

    1. Nigel Steward

      Re: UAVs?

      Don't forget Solent Airport at Lee-on-theSolent, formerly RNAS Lee-on-Solent, or HMS Daedalus, which dates back to 1917.

      http://www.solentairport.co.uk/solent_airport/intro.aspx

  2. W4YBO

    "At least one flying drone was lost overboard from a civilian testbed ship after its operator made a mistake during takeoff and accidentally commanded it to backflip into the icy waters of the Minch, off Scotland's Atlantic coast."

    When I do that, it just hits the basement floor, and I might have to replace a prop.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they started already?

    Last Friday there was a boat towing an Unmanned Surface Vehicle 'SeaWorker 5' out of Portsmouth Harbour into the Solent. A short while later the exploration vessel 'Seabed Constructor' sailed out from the harbour into the Solent, carrying another four identical USVs on deck.

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Can someone just...

    Send the Navy back to school;

    At the Royal Navy's annual Unmanned Warrior exercise

    By it's very definition 'Warrior' has to be person.. unless it's the explicit name of something (like the HMS Warrior I suppose)

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Can someone just...

      They'd probably reply that it's HMS Warrior, not the HMS Warrior.

      The exercise name is just a continuation of the X Warrior theme as the multinational exercise in the area is normally called Neptune Warrior.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Can someone just...

      I have had the pleasure of being inside a Warrior.... FV 510 on a number of occasions :)

      I'm guessing the HMS Warrior would contain a lot more seamen than the APC !

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrior_tracked_armoured_vehicle

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    ""the same technology BAE Systems provides to Royal Navy warships" "

    Hmmm.

    That sounds a very mixed blessing given most people's awareness of Billions Above Estimate.

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    "Nestled between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, the Solent has all the features of a busy sea area – big commercial ships, warships, weekend yacht sailors, high-speed hovercraft – while not being a million miles out to sea."

    But mostly pubs... some great pubs around that area. And cricket... at low water on the Bramble Bank.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And cricket... at low water on the Bramble Bank."

      ...hopefully, not when they ram the Hoegh Osaka into the wicket.

  7. Steve Aubrey
    Joke

    Can't resist

    Soylent, eh? Test status green, perhaps??

  8. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Oopsie

    and accidentally commanded it to backflip into the icy waters

    Yes, but it went out with style.

  9. Chemical Bob
    Unhappy

    " the Solent has all the features of a busy sea area – big commercial ships, warships, weekend yacht sailors, high-speed hovercraft"

    But no ekranoplans. How do they expect to get test results worth more than a handful of sour owl crap without ekranoplans?!

    1. ARGO

      Great idea!

      I would love to see commercial ekranoplans competing with the hovercraft service

      1. Eponymous Cowherd
        Unhappy

        Re: Great idea!

        They might even have some success considering the almighty clusterfuck the hovercraft operator, Hovertravel, have made of their upgrade programme.

        They comissioned two new craft from Griffon Hoverwork to replace their two aging, but proven AP1-88 100s. These were brought into service last summer but are so unreliable that the AP1-88s still seem to do most of the work.

        The new craft also have a vomit-inducing see-saw motion that is guaranteed to have you feeling queasy in anything above a flat calm.

      2. jeffdyer

        Re: Great idea!

        Ekranoplans? Not the best solution for a short round trip service. Maybe 1000s of Km journeys across the baltic, but 10 miles across the Solent?

      3. Chemical Bob

        Re: Great idea!

        "I would love to see commercial ekranoplans competing with the hovercraft service"

        Comparing the eel carrying capabilities would be fun.

  10. imanidiot Silver badge

    Accident?

    At least one flying drone was lost overboard from a civilian testbed ship after its operator made a mistake during takeoff and accidentally commanded it to backflip into the icy waters of the Minch, off Scotland's Atlantic coast.

    Are we sure it wasn't preceded by "Hey guys, hold my beer"?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slight Geographical Error

    Southampton itself is 3 or 4 miles from the Solent up Southampton Water so unless Southampton Water is now part of the Solent rather than the distinct area locals see it as then its not on the Solent.

    Oh and resident of Portsmouth might take exception too given that Pompey does actually sit on the Solent.

    Might be geographical pedantry but as someone who lived in the area for 20 odd yrs the local take these things very seriously, especially the Skates.

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