Ocean Infinity has announced the launch of a new marine technology and data company, Armada, which, it claims, will operate the largest fleet of unmanned surface vessels in the offshore industry
Armada will focus on technology and sustainability and will initially acquire 15 bespoke unmanned surface vessels to add to Ocean Infinity’s existing fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles.
Each unmanned surface vessel will serve a wide range of industries, being fully equipped to undertake a number of offshore data acquisition and intervention operations.
The robot ships will be capable of remotely deploying sensors as well as autonomous underwater vehicles and remotely operated vehicles for visual and acoustic data acquisition.
Armada’s fleet of unmanned vessels will not require people on board or a host vessel nearby. Instead they will be controlled and operated via satellite communications from onshore facilities in Austin, Texas and Southampton in the UK.
The company said the unmanned fleet approach will significantly reduce emissions of CO2 compared to conventional survey vessels.
Its fleet of unmanned vessels is currently under construction and is expected to be deployed by the end of 2020.
Ocean Infinity chief executive Oliver Plunkett said, “We have been driven to innovate by a desire to further reduce our impact on the environment and the time people spend at sea.”
Armada managing director Dan Hook said, “Armada complements the other service offerings in the Ocean Infinity group. This technology makes our operations world-leading in terms of environmental sustainability and safety, while still achieving the very highest levels of data quality and value for our clients,” he claimed.
“With no requirement for a host vessel, we are breaking new ground in the area of subsea technology and data.”
Other companies are already using unmanned vessels controlled via satellite, including Ireland-based XOcean.