Fugro, SEA-KIT to develop new USVs that can deploy ROVs and AUVs for inspections

Geo-data specialist Fugro and SEA-KIT, a provider of hi-tech technologies to maritime and research industries, will collaborate to develop a new range of agile and compact uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) capable of deploying ROVs and AUVs for marine asset inspections.

Fugro says that the USVs are being developed alongside its range of USVs for hydrographic data acquisition. The first USVs are expected to be launched before the end of 2020, and a larger USV model is being designed for delivery in 2021.

“We are excited to be partnering with SEA-KIT International to develop a range of USVs that will transform the marine industry,” says Mark Heine, chief executive officer at Fugro.

“Together with other strategic alliances, this partnership represents a major acceleration to our strategy of leading the development of remote and autonomous solutions, which is key to delivering a safer and more sustainable approach to constructing and maintaining marine assets.”

To deliver fast, safe and efficient inspection and positioning services, Fugro has built a global network of seven remote operations centers (ROCs). Fugro says that by the end of the year, it will be the first company in the world to provide offshore subsea inspections via USVs and ROVs that are operated from onshore ROCs.

SEA-KIT International and Fugro are aiming to accelerate the development and use of uncrewed vessels remotely operated from Fugro’s ROCs, which will ultimately improve safety, efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact on marine activities. The companies say that the new range of USVs will consume up to 95 percent less fuel than traditional vessels, which supports international ambitions for zero global emissions in the marine industry.