C-Job Naval Architects reveal concept autonomous guard vessel
A consortium of maritime companies has unveiled the concept design of an autonomous guard vessel (AGV), which could be used to patrol offshore substations and wind farms.
The Autonomous Guard Vessel is specifically designed for surveillance of offshore structures throughout their life cycle, ranging from wind farms to substation platforms and cable routes. With any area that needs to be secured, the AGV can continuously monitor nearby marine traffic visually as well as via radar and AIS data.
The novel design is smaller and lighter than most current guard vessels used to protect offshore operations and boasts sustainable solutions as well as exploiting the benefits of autonomous shipping. In addition, the Autonomous Guard Vessel (AGV) is set to operate more efficiently as well as require lower operating costs due to no crew being required.
This clean and lean concept to replace conventional guard vessels came to life in a project group facilitated by LISA, a community for maritime professionals. The project group resulted in a consortium, which includes C-Job Naval Architects, SeaZip Offshore Service, Sea Machines and recently joined by MARIN and eL-Tec elektrotechniek BV.
With any vessel that approaches the area, measures will be taken to secure the area in order to avoid collisions and damage to the offshore infrastructure. An intruding vessel can be communicated with and will receive information on how to safely navigate the area as well as being physically escorted away from the site by the Autonomous Guard Vessel. Additionally, the encounter will be recorded to provide video footage in case of any violation or accident.
Pelle de Jong, Founding Partner LISA, explains “Guard vessels perform an essential job, however, it is not the most exciting one for crew. Combined with the fact that conventional guard vessels are mostly outdated and thus aren’t necessarily the most comfortable let alone sustainable, it can be difficult to find well-trained crew willing to do the job.
“The group set out to improve upon the overall process of securing an offshore area while incorporating sustainable solutions and reducing overall cost. By utilizing the knowledge we have as a group as well as the technology already available, we succeeded in creating a design which does this and more.”
Sustainability is key to ensure both the viability and durability of the design. Rolph Hijdra, Autonomous Research Lead at C-Job Naval Architects, says “We are pleased we were able to develop a battery-powered design, ensuring the Autonomous Guard Vessel is free of harmful emissions. Additionally, the ship has solar panels across the top which allows for the continuation of navigation and communications in case the batteries run out of power.
“Contrary to current guard vessels, the AGV will continue to be operational even with rough sea conditions and have minimal underwater noise owing to the smaller size, reduced propulsion requirements and absence of a diesel engine.”
Photo (for illustrative purposes): Image courtesy of C-Job