Bad guys, beware! There's a new sheriff set to patrol Hawaii's waters and it doesn't need any rest.
"That is the Unmanned Port Security Vessel. It's basically a robotic boat. It's purpose is to go out and map ports and harbors in response to events. So if there's a tsunami, if there's a hurricane, if there's a terrorist event, to go out and be able to collect the information that will allow us to reopen the port as quickly as possible," said Dr. Brian Bingham with the University of Hawaii.
The University of Hawaii's Unmanned Port Security Vessel (UPSV) is a robotic platform designed to support the Coast Guard including 24-hour security and fluid spill response like the recent Matson molasses spill.
"It has sonar mapping, so multi-beam and side-scan sonar. Chemical mapping, so measuring pollution in the water, and video mapping," Dr. Bingham said.
The UPSV is entirely made in Hawaii at UH. School officials says the project shows that high-tech robotic machines can be built and sold in Hawaii to the global economy.
"I would issue a challenge that if you want to be somebody who works in marine robotics, if you want to be on the cutting edge of studying the ocean in the state of Hawaii, then look no further than UH. We're there and this is proof," said Dr. Margot Edwards with the Department of Homeland Security.
The success of the project has encouraged Battelle, the worlds largest research and product development company. to form a partnership with UH.
Battelle will help UH develop and market the UPSV in hopes of creating more robotic and computing jobs in Hawaii.
"So this is not at the $30,000 level. But instead of being an unmanned service vehicle that you're going to spend $150,000, $200,000 on, this is going to be much more economical. So more organizations are going to be able to have it," said Jac Fought with Battelle.
There's still another year of testing to go. It is unknown exactly how much it will cost.
The program is part of the greater UH Innovation Initiative that hopes to generate $1 billion in annual research spending in the islands in the near future.
The owner of Makani Kai Air says the plane that crashed off Molokai had catastrophic engine failure.
A top Hawaii official is dead following a plane crash off Molokai. Officials say state Health Director Loretta Fuddy died at the scene.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Loretta Fuddy to her position more than two years ago. In her role as state health director, she also served as the mayor of Kalawao County on Molokai.