Norwegian joint venture announces uncrewed vessel plans with Maritime Robotics

Norwegian joint venture announces uncrewed vessel plans with Maritime Robotics

USV AS, a joint venture between DeepOcean, Solstad Offshore ASA and Østensjø Rederi, has awarded its first contract for an uncrewed surface vessel (USV). Maritime Robotics – a key supplier in this project and a leading provider of autonomous navigation systems and uncrewed solutions – will deliver and integrate the autonomous navigation system that enables uncrewed navigation. The inaugural USV – a 24-metre-long vessel capable of handling various subsea work – will be operated from an onshore control centre and have the capability to work offshore for up to 30 days without refuelling.

The USV will be integrated with a working class remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and a newly developed launch and recovery system will allow the ROV to be operated from relatively small vessels like the USV. This integration designates the primary task of the USV as an offshore intervention and inspection vessel, with both the USV and ROV controlled from the same remote operating centre.

Maritime Robotics has developed and supplied autonomous vehicles to the maritime industry since 2005. While its products and services have mostly been utilized for coastal surveying, scientific purposes and surveillance, there is now a shift in the industry, with larger companies like those behind USV AS recognizing the value of leveraging autonomous and remote technology for larger offshore-capable vessels.

Collaborating uncrewed robots

Vegard Evjen Hovstein, CEO of Maritime Robotics, expressed excitement about the realization of this pioneering project after years of work. He acknowledged the bold steps taken by the joint venture towards deep-sea uncrewed inspection and intervention, considering it one of the first examples of Maritime Robotics’ vision of uncrewed robots collaborating to achieve coordinated tasks. He emphasized that such collaborations can lead to more efficient and sustainable operations in the ocean space.

The USV will be equipped with various features to ensure the safety and integrity of planned operations, leading to reduced costs, CO2 emissions and crew risk exposure. The captain will have full control of the vessel from the onshore remote operations centre.

The USV construction has been contracted to Astilleros Gondán on behalf of USV AS, and delivery is expected by the end of 2024. The joint venture aims to have the USV operational by 2025, following offshore testing.

With the introduction of the new USV, the captain is being relocated onshore, while maintaining control over offshore operations. (Image courtesy: DeepOcean)
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