"Professors Joel Esposito, Matthew Feemster, and CAPT. Jack Nicholson at the US Naval Academy are developing a team of autonomous tug boats.  The goal is to have the unmanned tugs move a large disabled ship, possibly through hostile waters, and automatically dock it with minimal human input.   With a supporting grant from the Office of Naval Research, they are constructing a scale model test bed.  The boats are Vac-U-Tugs supplied by Vac-U-Boat. They are fitted with microprocessors, cameras and sensors.  The system will be tested in the US Naval Academy's extensive hydrodynamic testing facility.  Other possible applications of the research include:  manipulating large objects to construct offshore bases and drilling platforms, lunar base construction, and micro/nano-scale assembly tasks."