The First Shore-Controlled Robotic Fleet on Its Way
Ocean Infinity orders eight optionally crewed addition to its Armada fleet of robotic vessels.
US-based marine robotics company Ocean Infinity’s Armada fleet of robotic vessels is ready to go to the next phase. The company has signed a contract for eight 78-meter, optionally crewed robotic vessels.
The new vessels will be designed and built by Norway-based VARD, supplement the current Armada fleet of nine 21-meter and 36-meter vessels currently in production and expected to be operational by early 2021.
The first 78-meter vessel will be constructed at the Vard Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam and is expected to launch in mid-2022. The price tag for the order was not disclosed.
Ocean Infinity has announced that these fuel-efficient, onshore-controlled vessels will initially only utilize a skeleton crew on board.
“The impact and the scale of this robotic fleet will spark the biggest transformation the maritime industry has seen since sail gave way to steam. With our new fleet we will be able to provide sustainable services to all corners of the industry from offshore energy, to logistics and transport” said Oliver Plunkett, CEO, Ocean Infinity.
What do the new vessels bring to the game?
Ocean Infinity sees this new order as a new step for a carbon-neutral industry:
“It is not, however, something that will be achieved overnight or indeed in a year, rather it will be a journey over time requiring bold leaps forward and challenge to all convention. This move is a giant step forward towards that goal,” said Mr. Plunkett.
The new larger vessels are expected to enable Ocean Infinity to support a wider spectrum of maritime activity, which from the outset will provide more sustainable outcomes with smaller crews and less power consumption than traditional vessels, whilst also creating new, safer job opportunities for the ‘seafarer of the future’.
Alberto Maestrini, CEO, VARD, said that they are working closely on unique custom design features and system integration allowing for remote operation, and the introduction of sustainable fuel such as green ammonia in close cooperation with regulatory bodies.
Other features including high DP2 performance, vast deck space, and twin moon pools make the vessels ideally suited for various extended payload operations requiring precision such as ROV and AUV deployments and logistics.
Ocean Infinity is no stranger to new AUV technology
In November 2019, Ocean Infinity conducted a trial run for a new technology for AUVs in partnership with Kraken Robotics. The company achieved significant milestones in endurance testing of their Kongsberg Hugin AUVs using new pressure tolerant batteries from Kraken, allowing a reduction in launch and recovery operations by 50 percent.
The new 5,000-meter pressure tolerant batteries enable greater endurance and efficiency of its HUGIN AUVs, enabling missions to be conducted across a period of more than four days without a battery change.
The technology, partnered with Ocean Infinity’s multi-AUV operation, also increases the possible survey range to nearly 700 kilometers per AUV.