Project coordinator and senior analyst Heber Alonzo Meraz takes a closer look at recent innovations within the maritime industry.
From autonomous ships and drones to firefighting robots, project coordinator, analyst, and former senior military servicemember Heber Alonzo Meraz provides a closer look at three areas of growth leading innovation within today’s rapidly evolving maritime sector.
“Cutting edge technological innovation is supporting rapid growth and shaping the future of the global maritime industry, ready to meet and overcome its next stage of challenges,” explains Meraz, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, currently serving as a project coordinator and senior analyst for Sikorsky Aircraft in Shelton, Connecticut.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, have been pioneers of flight solutions since 1923. “Together with Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky delivers an unwavering commitment to helping its clients to succeed,” reveals Meraz.
Turning his attention back to maritime industry innovation, Meraz looks toward autonomous ships for his first point. “Next generation vessels with no onboard crew, autonomous ships will instead be commanded from on-shore operating centers,” reveals the retired Marine Corps Staff Sergeant. After being stationed in Japan early on in his decades-long military career, Meraz was transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, before serving in Iraq, including one tour with a marine expeditionary unit and air-ground task force during 2007 and 2008.
“So-called ‘shore masters’ and engineers will, instead, monitor and control the navigation and performance of their vessels via high-resolution cameras, sensors, other detectors, and advanced satellite communication systems,” he adds.
Similarly, Meraz also points toward drone innovation as another burgeoning maritime industry field. “Drone innovation, too, is big business in the marine sphere,” he reveals.
Although, says Meraz, the use of drones within the marine sector is by no means new, the range of applications for such technology has grown dramatically in recent years. “Accordingly, the value of the industry, as it relates to the marine environment, has increased massively,” he adds.
Lastly, Meraz touches on firefighting robots. “Shipping companies, in particular, have recognized the significance of robots in their practices and operations for many years,” he explains, “with firefighting robots among the more recent and potentially most vital and revolutionary innovations.”
“Such robots, for example,” Meraz continues, “are adding a new magnitude to modern maritime business practices, both cutting costs, and mitigating safety concerns.”
Indeed, autonomous firefighting robots have been touted as ideal to both control damage and carry out the safe inspection of fires and fire damage sustained onboard all manner of naval operations across the globe. “Furthermore,” reveals Meraz, “such robots will further aid, rather than replace, human firefighters in a wide variety of applications both on land and at sea.”
“Such innovation, I believe,” he adds, wrapping up, “will drive efficiency, improve operations, and create savings across all facets of the maritime sector and much further afield.”
Raised in El Paso, Texas, and Dodge City, Kansas, retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Heber Alonzo Meraz is a keen marathon runner, former Toys for Tots project coordinator, neighborhood safety events organizer, and the recipient of both an American Red Cross Lifesaving Award and a State of Connecticut General Assembly official citation for lifesaving. Today, Meraz happily resides in the Fairfield County town of Trumbull, Connecticut, close to the cities of Bridgeport and Shelton, and the towns of Fairfield, Stratford, Monroe, and Easton.