Autonomous survey vessels to 'cut offshore costs'


UK company HydroSurv has developed two autonomous surface vessels (USV) that the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult says could reduce the cost of offshore wind surveys and inspections at sea by up to 60%.

HydroSurv worked with the ORE Catapult and project partners Reygar and Core Blue as part of an Innovate-UK funded project to develop its USVs.

The REAV-16 and REAV-40 USVs can use a range of sensors and task-orientated payloads to deliver efficient survey and inspection in the offshore wind sector, ORE Catapult said.

ORE Catapult supported HydroSurv in its technology development by gathering user requirements and providing engineering design on the launch and recovery structures.

HydroSurv founder David Hull said: “Our mission is to democratise ocean data with a focus across four key sectors which can gain the most from maritime autonomous systems.

“Supporting offshore survey and inspection with fully-autonomous survey vessels like REAV-40 could become commonplace, and as the offshore wind sector extends its reach further offshore, survey industries will have to adapt to satisfy industries future needs - including decarbonising survey, improving safety and delivering accurate, reliable and repeatable data at a reduced cost.”

Reygar managing director Chris Huxley-Reynard said: “In order to overcome the control-system challenges facing the next generation of unmanned survey vessels, we have drawn on a decade’s experience developing cutting edge low-emission, safe, and cost-effective offshore wind vessel monitoring and control system technologies.

“The wealth of offshore wind operational data we have gathered has informed this work.

“We are delighted to work with HydroSurv to shape the future of unmanned offshore surveying.”

ORE Catapult operational performance director Chris Hill said: “Robotic and autonomous systems technologies, like HydroSurv’s USVs, will play a crucial role in the UK’s transition to net zero and represent a huge opportunity to leverage its world-leading role in offshore wind, using its advanced robotics and autonomous systems sector to develop solutions for a global market.

“The development of these technologies in the industry also creates more opportunities to remove technicians from dangerous offshore working conditions, with a move to remote operations onshore.”

ORE Catapult has also awarded HydroSurv ‘Powered By’ status – a mark independently recognised by the Catapult, highlighting high-growth potential SMEs that are developing game-changing products or services for the offshore renewable energy market.