French marine offshore services company Bourbon has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Automated Ships Ltd to build “the world’s first autonomous, fully automated and cost-efficient prototype vessel for offshore operations”, in collaboration with the project’s primary technology partner, Kongsberg.
Bourbon said in a statement that the Hrönn project would see the development of a light-duty, offshore utility ship servicing the offshore energy, hydrographic and scientific and offshore fish-farming industries. It can also be utilised as a remotely operated vessel (ROV) and autonomous underwater vessel (AUV) support ship and standby vessel, able to provide firefighting support to an offshore platform working in cooperation with manned vessels.
Kongsberg will deliver all major marine equipment necessary for the design, construction and operation of Hrönn, including all systems for dynamic positioning and navigation, satellite and position reference, marine automation and communication.
Hrönn’s Sea trials will take place in Norway’s officially designated automated vessel test bed in the Trondheim fjord and will be conducted under the auspices of DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA).
A completion date for the first prototype vessel has yet to be announced.