First USV classed based on ABS autonomous guidelines

The Saildrone Voyager, a 10-metre commercial uncrewed surface vehicle (USV), has been confirmed as the first autonomous maritime asset built to ABS Class using the classification society’s Requirements for Autonomous and Remote Control Functions.

The Voyager was developed by California-headquartered Saildrone, a provider of ocean data for climate, mapping and maritime security applications using USVs.

“Saildrone has spent three years maturing the Voyager design to be the industry leader in capability, reliability and safety in the uncrewed vehicle sector,” said Richard Jenkins, CEO and founder of Saildrone.

“This classification from the American Bureau of Shipping defines the new gold standard for uncrewed systems and underscores the maturity of our technology.”

ABS had previously issued an Approval in Principle (AIP) to the Voyager earlier this year, an initial step on the path to full classification.

“Uncrewed drone vehicles have huge potential to change the way we operate at sea and are a first step toward commercial autonomous vessels,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

“Saildrone Voyager is exciting technology and a key milestone on the road to more autonomous operations, and we are proud to be able to use our experience to support it.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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