US-based autonomous vessel systems developer Sea Machines Robotics reports that it has agreed a deal to outfit a survey vessel operated by Deep BV of Amsterdam with its SM300 control system technology.
The Sea Machines kit enables remote command of ships from land, including navigation and positioning, the control of on-board auxiliaries and sensors, and ship-to-shore data flow. The survey vessel, operating in the Wadden Sea, will be commanded by personnel in the Amsterdam office.
The SM300 autonomy system can be installed on new or existing ships, allowing a fleet manager to remotely monitor and command multiple autonomous vessels from a shipboard or shore-based centre.
Deep will initially deploy the Sea Machines-enabled vessel for a mission to survey the Wadden Sea, a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands located north of The Netherlands. With no surveyors on board the vessel for this project, Deep operators will command and control the autonomous vessel and all on-board payloads from its shoreside Survey Control Room.
Operators in the shore centre will be able to remotely manage equipment including survey sonars, hydrophones, winches, cranes and davits, and will be able to facilitate several multi-beam surveys simultaneously. All collected data from the vessel will then be transferred to the control room via 4G and satellite connections.
“The purpose of our Survey Control Room is to offer our clients many possibilities like ad hoc surveys, simultaneous conducted surveys operated by only one survey crew, and multi-purpose use of vessels already available in the field,” said Deep’s CCO, Jurgen Beerens.
“Besides these unparalleled flexibility advantages, it offers a time-saving option to increase efficiency and control costs towards a more sustainable future. With Sea Machines integrated on our vessel, we will soon begin to transfer tasks from the vessel to the safe working environment of the office. As well as improving safety, we will gain flexibility, continuity and quality, and we will reduce risks and our carbon footprint.”
Deep says that it was already the first company to conduct remote surveys without surveyors on board in The Netherlands, in September 2019. These early missions included a captain and crew on board, with surveyors based in the Survey Control Room executing data collections via the SIMON Remote Survey platform for marine survey data control and acquisition. The SM300 installation represents the next step in Deep’s plan to expand its remote survey operations.
“Sea Machines systems are an ideal fit for commercial marine operations that require high levels of predictability, productivity and safety,” said Sea Machines’ Michael Johnson, CEO.
“For these reasons, hydrographic survey is an exemplary use case for our autonomous-command and remote-helm control technologies. With Sea Machines installed on board, Deep will benefit from obtaining higher-quality data, more safely and at a more efficient rate with less data overlap.”