The Smart Ships Coalition was formed by the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, and Michigan Technological University (MTU) and includes academic, state and federal agencies, private and non-profit industry, and international organizations working to advance the development and application of autonomous technologies operated in marine environments. The Great Lakes Research Center at MTU is supporting the Smart Ships Coalition and has established the Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS) as a test bed for autonomous vessel research. Work groups have been established to advance collaboration in the following areas: Smart Ships Coalition Steering Group; Workforce Development, Education, and Training Group; Technology Development and Applications Group; and Autonomous Technology Operations and Policy Group. The Governors and Premiers released a Smart Ships Action Plan in August 2018 with policy recommendations to help the region become a leader in this sector.