Norway orders four autonomous vessels for marine environment monitoring

Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) has reached an agreement with Kongsberg Maritime for the supply of four autonomous vessels to be used for monitoring and management of marine environments and resources.

The scope of supply includes two Sounder USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) and two AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles). The four vessels will be equipped with Kongsberg’s new Blue Insight technology, a cloud-based ecosystem designed to facilitate remote instrument operation, data visualisation and management of oceanographic and meteorological data.

Infrastructure for automated classification of fish through machine learning is another agreed feature of the delivery, to support the goal of implementing seagoing drones for ecosystem management.

The AUVs are scheduled for delivery this year, with the USVs following in the late summer/early autumn of 2022. Control and navigation of both the AUVs and the Sounder USVs can be handled using a single interface.

“As we embark on the next stage in this project, we are happy to do so alongside our trusted and long-term partner Kongsberg Maritime,” said the IMR’s CEO, Sissel Rogne.

“We are seeing a wide range of changes in our coastal and ocean ecosystems – and these changes happen fast. In response to this, we must streamline and increase our management efforts.”

“To obtain this we need innovative and reliable partners, and the cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime is therefore vital to us. Their USVs and AUVs will initially work alongside our traditional research vessels in an ‘armada strategy,’ but will subsequently operate more independently as we expand our plans.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

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