Skip to Main Content
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) at the MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2008 Conference in Quebec City a series of review papers were requested from OES technical committee chairs. In response to that request this paper provides a review of the field of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and autonomous surface craft (ASCs). The paper discusses the enabling technologies that have allowed USVs to emerge as a viable platform for marine operations as well as the application areas where they offer value. The paper tracks developments in technology from early systems developed by the author in 1993 through the latest developments and demonstration programs. The future outlook for USV technology is also described.