Saildrone’s Voyager secures landmark ABS classification for commercial autonomy

Saildrone’s Voyager secures landmark ABS classification for commercial autonomy

Saildrone recently announced that it has received the world’s first marine classification for a commercial uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) – the Saildrone Voyager – from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). This marks a significant achievement in the progression towards increased autonomous operations.

Classification is a major milestone for Saildrone, as it allows the Voyager to operate in the ports and waters of countries that require vessels to be classed by organizations such as ABS, opening up new survey markets such as the UK. It demonstrates Saildrone’s commitment to safety, standardization and reliability in its technology and operations.

“Uncrewed drone vehicles have huge potential to change the way we operate at sea and are a first step towards commercial autonomous vessels. ABS is a leader in this space, working with key partners all over the world to support the development and adoption of the technologies and strategies that autonomous shipping will be built on. Saildrone Voyager is exciting technology and a key milestone on the road to more autonomous operations, and we are proud to be able to use our experience to support it,” said Patrick Ryan, senior vice president and CTOP at ABS. ABS sets rigorous standards for safety and excellence as one of the world’s leading classification organizations and is at the forefront of marine and offshore innovation.

Long-duration multibeam mapping surveys

The Voyager carries an impressive payload for coastal ocean mapping operations, including high-resolution MBES and Innomar SBP systems, and is the only survey USV that can deliver long-duration multibeam mapping surveys meeting the highest industry standards. Its ISR sensor suite includes a smart camera array, digital radar and sub-surface passive acoustics.

Saildrone USVs are equipped with a suite of sensors and instruments, enabling them to collect a wide range of ocean data above and below the sea surface. They are primarily powered by wind and solar energy, making Saildrone USVs an environmentally friendly solution for long-duration ocean data missions.

Earlier in 2023, ABS granted Approval in Principal, which helps clients to evaluate the feasibility of their designs, for the Voyager and the larger 20-metre Surveyor platform. With the successful implementation of the classification system for Voyager, Saildrone is advancing its data delivery services to cater to scientific organizations, government agencies and commercial partners. By tapping into the capabilities of renewable energy and autonomous technology, Saildrone has the ambition to reshape the paradigm of ocean data collection. This pioneering approach is set to redefine the utilization of oceanic data for scientific exploration, commercial ventures and defence applications worldwide.

Saildrone has achieved marine classification for the Saildrone Voyager from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
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