Offshore services company Bourbon has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Automated Ships Ltd to support the building of the Hrönn, the world’s first autonomous, fully-automated prototype vessel for offshore operation.
The project will also include the support from the project’s primary technology partner, Kongsberg which 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.
Its vessel control systems including K-Pos dynamic positioning, K-Chief automation and K-Bridge ECDIS and Radar will be replicated at an Onshore Control Centre, allowing full remote operations of Hrönn, the company informed.
“Bourbon will leverage its expertise in building and operating a standardised fleet to provide detailed input to the development and design of the Hrönn project, ensuring flexibility, reliability and cost efficiency to operate safely and effectively in the demanding offshore environment,” the company said.
Hrönn is described as a light-duty, offshore utility ship servicing the offshore energy, hydrographic & scientific and offshore fish-farming industries. It can also be utilised as a ROV and AUV support ship and standby vessel, able to provide firefighting support to an offshore platform working in cooperation with manned vessels.
Automated Ships has progressed the original catamaran design of Hrönn since the project launch on 1st November 2016, opting for a monohulled vessel of steel construction, to provide more payload capacity and greater flexibility in the diverse range of operations.
In the second phase of the project, Bourbon and ASL intend to look for subsidies to finance the effective construction of the prototype.
Bourbon’s entry to the Hrönn project, follows the recent joining of forces with Kongsberg on developing digital solutions for next generation connected and autonomous vessels.
Hrönn’s sea trials are scheduled to 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). The Hrönn will ultimately be classed and flagged, respectively.