World’s First Unmanned Fully-Automated Boat for Offshore Ops

The maritime industry is taking on the challenge of creating a fully automated ships.

Many companies in the automotive industry are adapting to the new trend of making their line of vehicles autonomous. Now, the maritime industry is taking on the challenge of creating autonomous ships as well. Automated Ships Ltd., a subsidiary of M Subs Ltd, and Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that they are going to build the World’s first unmanned and fully-automated vessel for offshore  operations.

In January 2017, Automated Ships Ltd will contract the ‘Hrönn’. The design and construction of Hrönn will be in Norway in cooperation with KONGSBERG. The sea trials will be taking place in the newly designated automated vessel test bed in the Trondheim fjord, Norway. In addition to this, the test will be conducted under DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA).

Only small autonomous boats are being in use for near shore operation as of today. But there are no technical limitations to constructing large, unmanned and automated systems. With the cooperation of DNV GL and the NMA, Norwegian and UK companies and institutions, it will be possible to create the full-sized unmanned ship at low-cost.


Hrönn. Source: Kongsberg

Hrönn is an offshore, light-weight utility ship that will be servicing the offshore energy, scientific/hydrographic and offshore fish-farming industries. Some of this ship’s uses are: Surveying, ROV and AUV launch and recovery, light intermodal cargo delivery and delivery to offshore installations, as well as support for open-water fish farming.

Another use for Hrönn can also be as a standby vessel. So it can provide firefighting support to an offshore platform working in cooperation with manned vessels. Currently, Automated Ships Ltd. is communicating with some end-users that will act as early adopters. Also, this is for the company to be able to create a base rate for operations and secure contracts for Hrönn offshore in the future.

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Hrönn will be operating initially and primarily as a remotely piloted ship in the Man-in-the-Loop Control mode. But, they will soon transition to a fully automated and ultimately autonomous operations. This will continue as the control algorithms will develop concurrently during remote pilot operations.

Automated Ships Ltd will be the primary integrator, ship owner, as well as the project manager of this world’s fully automated and unmanned ship for commercial use. This project will be leveraging existing technology to be able to develop a flexible a low-cost ship to become the market lead and will be offering not just a work-boat but provide an unparalleled R&D asset for this new industry sector.

KONGSBERG, a leading global maritime technology manufacturer, will be delivering all major marine equipment necessary of the design, operation and construction of Hrönn. KONGSBERG will be delivering all systems for dynamic positioning and navigation, satellite and position reference, marine automation and communication.

Ampere, the world’s first battery driven car ferry. Source: Clean Technica

They will be building Hrönn in Fjellstrand AS, a Norwegian shipyard. This company has a long history of constructing state-of-the-art aluminium ferries, steel offshore vessels and aluminium work boats. Also, Fjellstrand is popular for building the world’s first battery-driven car ferry named ‘Ampere’. They are also for leading in the maritime industry and green technology.

According to Morten Berhovde, the Technical Director of Fjellstrand AS, “Fjellstrand AS has for years worked within the high-end development of new vessels. To design and build future ships with autonomic technology will be an exciting challenge, and follows the path laid from the recent building of Ampere where technology is pushed forward in good cooperation with partners,”

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Marine Technology News

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World’s First Unmanned Fully-Automated Boat for Offshore Ops

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