Maritime innovation has evolved since the 1960s to the present. We have witnessed a growth in nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, the rise of autonomous vehicles, and the importance of information technology.

Four of the explorers exemplify the Age of Innovation. William Francis Gibbs, the designer of the fastest ocean-going cruise liner of its time, the SS United States, whose bell now occupies Christopher Newport University’s carillon tower. Admiral Zumwalt was the youngest person ever to be named Chief of Naval Operations, and he was innovative both in terms of U.S. Navy brown-water (littoral) war-fighting as well as social policies. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper explored the boundaries of computer science, and was an early contributor to maritime cyber warfare defense. Our last explorer is a drone, representing how unmanned vehicles and high-tech developments continue to shape the frontier of contemporary maritime technology.

Maritime Drone

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt

William Francis Gibbs

For videos on the latest trends and research on drones, see:

Office of Naval Research on drones

TERN Autonomous VTOL

China’s drone sales

For websites on drones and ocean instruments, see:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution