Saildrone has received classification for an autonomous, uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). The mid-class vehicle in Saildrone’s fleet is the first-ever commercial autonomous USV to receive the classification, the company says.
The Saildrone Voyager, a 10m USV used for near-shore bathymetry and maritime security, is a platform and a force multiplier providing near-real-time data across the world’s oceans. Classification is a major milestone for Saildrone, enabling the Voyager to operate in the ports and waters of countries that require vessels to be classed by organizations such as ABS.
“Saildrone has spent three years maturing the Voyager design to be the industry leader in capability, reliability and safety in the uncrewed vehicle sector,” said Richard Jenkins, CEO and founder of Saildrone. “This classification from the American Bureau of Shipping defines the new gold standard for uncrewed systems and underscores the maturity of our technology.”
For coastal ocean mapping operations, the Voyager carries high-resolution MBES and Innomar SBP systems, and can deliver long-duration multibeam mapping surveys. 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, which is intended to make Saildrone USVs an environmentally friendly solution for long-duration ocean data missions.
Patrick Ryan, senior vice president and chief technology officer at ABS, commented, “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 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.”
Earlier in the summer of 2022, ABS granted Approval in Principal, which helps clients evaluate the feasibility of their designs, for the Voyager and the larger 20m (65ft) Surveyor platform.
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