Robotics/unmanned systems

Two Strategic Partnerships Emerge for Offshore Unmanned Systems

Fugro and SEA-KIT’s partnership will develop unmanned vessels, while HII and Kongsberg will market naval and maritime products.

Hydroid’s REMUS autonomous underwater vehicle
Hydroid’s REMUS autonomous underwater vehicle

Geodata specialist Fugro and maritime and research technology provider SEA-KIT announced a strategic partnership to develop a range of uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) which can deploy remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for marine asset inspections. The first USVs will be launched this year, with a larger USV model expected in 2021.

Fugro said the new range of USVs will consume up to 95% less fuel than traditional vessels, supporting international initiatives for zero global emissions in the marine industry.

Fugro and SEA-KIT will accelerate the development and use of uncrewed vessels, remotely operated from Fugro’s remote operation centers (ROCs), to improve safety, efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact on marine activities. Fugro has a global network of 7 ROCs, which deliver inspection and positioning services. The company aims to be the first to provide offshore subsea inspections via USVs and ROVs from onshore ROCs.

The Fugro and SEA-KIT partnership comes as Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) and Kongsberg Maritime enter a strategic partnership as well. HII and Kongsberg will jointly market naval and maritime products and services to the US government and potentially global markets.

The HII and Kongsberg Maritime alliance is in conjunction with HII’s $350-million acquisition of marine robotics maker Hydroid, which closed in March. Hydroid will become part of HII’s Technical Solutions Unmanned Systems business unit that now includes unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV).

Hydroid designs and manufactures solutions for use in several applications including defense, marine research, and commercial. For intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications, Hydroid’s UUVs deliver sensors to sensitive areas, collecting data in operational environments.