Unmanned Surface Vessel: A Technological Advancement in Offshore Operations

USV AS Contracts Astilleros Gondán to Build Unmanned Surface Vessel

USV AS has partnered with Astilleros Gondán shipyard to construct an innovative unmanned surface vessel (USV) aimed at reducing emissions and operating costs in subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair work.

Established by DeepOcean, Solstad Offshore, and Østensjø, USV AS is focused on investing in and owning USVs.

The USV solution is expected to decrease CO2 emissions by over 90 percent compared to traditional offshore vessels during subsea IMR operations.

The development of the USV concept commenced in 2018, involving collaborations with clients, Salt Ship Design, technology providers, and relevant authorities to enhance its capabilities.

Maritime Robotics will be responsible for delivering the autoremote control and navigation system for the USV.

Hybrid Propulsion System and Extended Operation Duration

Equipped with a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system, the 24-meter long and 7.5-meter wide USV offers a unique approach to offshore operations.

Thanks to a battery package from Seam, the USV can operate continuously for up to 30 days without the need for refueling or recharging.

In addition, the vessel will feature a work ROV capable of operating at depths of up to 1,500 meters.

With remote control capabilities from shore and autonomous features, the USV ensures safety and integrity even in severe weather conditions.

By co-locating the USV crew and ROV operators in the same remote operating center, efficiency and coordination are maximized.

Environmental Benefits and Cost Reduction

The USV solution offers significant environmental advantages, including a remarkable reduction of more than 90 percent in CO2 emissions compared to conventional offshore vessels.

Moreover, the hybrid propulsion system and extended operation duration of up to 30 days without refueling contribute to substantial cost savings.

By moving the captain onshore and operating the vessel and ROV from a remote operations center, the USV minimizes costs, CO2 footprint, and personnel exposure to offshore operations.

The Norwegian offshore cluster is at the forefront of the energy transition, showcasing new technologies that reduce emissions, costs, and increase safety in offshore operations.

The USV represents a significant step forward in offshore operations, aligning with the industry's commitment to sustainability and efficiency.

Novel Launch and Recovery System

Featuring a newly developed launch and recovery system, the USV enables the operation of work class ROVs from relatively small vessels, departing from conventional moonpool or A-frame systems.

This innovative launch system prioritizes the integrity of the ROV and its tooling, ensuring reliable and safe unmanned offshore operations.

In addition to the ROV, the USV will be equipped with a diverse range of tools for performing various subsea operations, including inspection and intervention tasks.

The novel launch and recovery system not only enhances the USV's workable weather window but also represents a technological advancement in offshore operations.

By pushing the boundaries of traditional approaches, the USV paves the way for future advancements in the maritime industry.

Delivery and Future Operations

Astilleros Gondán shipyard has been awarded the contract to construct the USV, with delivery anticipated by the end of 2024.

Following offshore testing, the USV is set to commence operations in 2025, focusing on subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) work.

By contributing to the energy transition and reducing environmental impact, the USV plays a vital role in the evolution of offshore operations.

The USV not only represents a significant advancement in the maritime industry but also serves as a testament to the capabilities of unmanned surface vessels in offshore operations.

USV AS is at the forefront of pioneering the use of USVs and driving innovation in the maritime industry, setting the stage for a transformative future.


MI News Network. (July 19, 2023). USV AS Orders First Unmanned Surface Vessel. www.marineinsight.com.

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