World’s First Over-the-Horizon USVs Enters Construction Phase

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Production has started on what is claimed to be the world’s first over-the-horizon, high-endurance unmanned surface vessel (USV) in the UK.

Contracts Signed 

Zero USV contracted Manor Marine in Portland, Dorset to construct two autonomous vessels after signing contracts during the Oceanology event in London, in March 2024.

The collaboration between UK companies MSubs and MarineAI plans to complete the first of these fully autonomous Oceanus12 class vessels in Q4 2024 when it will undergo sea trials and be ready to charter.

In March, Zero USV confirmed agreements with technology providers RAD Propulsion, Hexagon, and Navtech Radar for key sensors and equipment to build these USVs. They will be built out of aluminum, with battery-powered electric propulsion, navigation equipment linked to the global navigation satellite system (GNSS), and a survey-grade inertial measurement unit (IMU).

Versatile Platform 

It has certainly been a whirlwind few weeks for us since we introduced of the world’s first fully autonomous high-endurance charter USV fleet,” said Zero USV managing director Matthew Ratsey. Mr Ratsey said Zero USV had agreed on exclusive supply arrangements with Hexagon to provide LD900 GNSS receivers and IMUs, and with RAD Propulsion for RAD 40 electric propulsion systems including RAD batteries.

Oceanus12 was designed as a versatile platform, with a wide range of potential applications including offshore and seabed surveys, asset monitoring, geophysical and hydrographical mapping, border control, fisheries science, and defense.

RAD Propulsion chief executive Dan Hook said the RAD 40 electric drive system would include RADBus architecture.

Hexagon vice president of sales and marine operations for the autonomy and positioning division, Richard Turner, said Oceanus12 USVs can “operate in all conditions, totally unmanned, with accurate and reliable positioning for diverse marine applications, even within potentially congested waterways such as offshore wind environments.”

MSubs and MarineAI previously collaborated on the Mayflower 400 project, which completed a successful transatlantic autonomous voyage in 2022.

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Source: Rivieramm