Full size unmanned offshore vessel to be built
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the UK’s Automated Ships and Kongsberg Maritime will see a full-size unmanned and fully-automated vessel built for offshore operations called the Hrönn. Kongsberg announced the MoU on 1 November.
Hrönn will be designed as a light-duty, offshore utility ship for the offshore energy, scientific/hydrographic and offshore fish-farming industries. It will be capable of conducting missions such as survey, ROV and AUV launch and recovery, light cargo delivery to offshore installations, and open-water fish farm support. It will also be capable of providing firefighting support to offshore platforms, and working in cooperation with manned vessels.
The vessel will primarily be remotely-operated, capable of man-in-the-loop operations, but will have the capacity to transition to fully automated and autonomous operations as control algorithms are developed.
Automated Ships will integrate and project manage the vessel, while Kongsberg will be responsible for delivering all marine equipment required for the design, construction and operation of the vessel, including systems for dynamic positioning and navigation, satellite and position reference, marine automation and communication.
All vessel control systems including K-Pos dynamic positioning, K-Chief automation and K-Bridge ECDIS will be replicated at an Onshore Control Centre, allowing full remote operations of the Hrönn.
Hrönn will be designed and built in Norway (by Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand AS), with sea trials to take place in Norway's newly designated automated vessel test bed in the Trondheim fjord under the auspices of DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority.
Brett A Phaneuf, managing director of Automated Ships, said: ‘The advantages of unmanned ships are manifold, but primarily centre on the safe guarding of life and reduction in the cost of production and operations; removing people from the hazardous environment of at-sea operations and re-employing them on-shore to monitor and operate robotic vessels remotely, along with the significantly decreased cost in constructing ships, will revolutionise the marine industry.
‘Automated Ships will be at the forefront of that revolution, along with its many Norwegian partners.’
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