Sea Machines Robotics closes $15 million financing round

Sea Machines Robotics has closed a new $15 million financing round, which marks one of the largest venture rounds for an advanced technology company serving the marine and maritime industries, according to Sea Machines.

“This reinforces Sea Machines’ position as the leading developer of autonomous navigation and wireless vessel control systems,” says Michael G. Johnson, CEO, Sea Machines.

“Our ability to secure significant financing during a challenging economic environment is an indicator of investors’ confidence in our ability to reshape and retool the marine industries with modern-day, advanced technologies.”

Designed to serve the modern mariner, Sea Machines’ autonomous systems “markedly increase” productivity of vessel operations by assuming active domain perception and navigation duties, the company explains. A human operator commands a Sea Machines system. By taking on the long duration and often repetitive control duties, the system boosts the predictability and precision of operations while lowering the risk of fatigue-related incidents. The technology also enables new capabilities on water, such as being able to command remote offshore vessels from onshore. 

Sea Machines launched its first family of products in late 2018. Since then, the company has deployed systems on vessels serving a variety of sectors, from large cargo vessels to U.S.-flag ATBs and data-collecting survey boats, oil-spill response craft, search-and-rescue (SAR), patrol and crew transfer vessels.

Sea Machines notes that its systems are now operating in four of the world’s eight geographical regions, which is possible thanks to a dealer-partner program with established marine electronics integrators. 

“We are entering a phase of growth and universal interest like what was witnessed in the self-driving automotive space starting five years ago, but the difference being that marine self-piloting systems are already operationally deployed. We expect to see broad adoption of autonomous technology on water ahead of that on roads,” Johnson says.

The financing round included significant participation by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). A continuation of HII’s expansion in the autonomous and unmanned maritime systems industry, the strategic investment and associated partnership with HII “will accelerate the deployment of self-piloting technologies in the rising market of unmanned naval boats and ships,” Sea Machines says.

“This investment represents our commitment to advanced innovation and competencies across the unmanned systems market,” says Andy Green, executive vice president and president of technical solutions, HII. “Sea Machines is making significant strides in the unmanned surface vessel (USV) industry. We want to invest in their growth and continue to form complementary partnerships across this key domain.”