Ben Kinnaman thinks he can transform the shipping industry and the world's navies by making vessels faster, more fuel-efficient and cheaper to operate. In the process, he hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect delicate marine ecosystems from invasive species.

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How? By using small, autonomous robots to clean a ship's hull faster than was previously possible — at a fraction of the price. The robots were all designed and built by Armach Robotics, Kinnaman's new Vermont-based company. Its CEO and founder has extensive experience navigating the oceans, albeit thousands of feet below the surface.

Armach is a spin-off of Richmond-based Greensea Systems, which Kinnaman founded in 2006 to design technology used in the guidance of deep-sea robots. With more than 60 employees, Greensea works with the militaries of 16 countries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Now, Kinnaman has charted a new course into the realm of ship husbandry, or the cleaning and maintenance of oceangoing vessels. Specifically, Armach has developed a novel solution to an age-old problem.

 Read more in Seven Days.