A total of eight robotic vessels will be added to the newly launched Armada fleet by Ocean Infinity, an American marine robotics company deploying autonomous robots for uncrewed operations. For the first time, PALFINGER has been selected as a supplier for robotic ships by VARD, global designer and ship builder for specialized vessels.
The US company Ocean Infinity, founded in 2017, has been operating their robotic fleet Infinity to gather and analyze data from the world’s oceans. While Infinity consists of autonomous underwater vehicles, a second fleet named Armada is set to become operational in 2021 with robotic ships operating on the water’s surface. In the coming years, this fleet will be expanded with vessels acting as unique multi-purpose platforms, designed and built by the Norwegian VARD Group. PALFINGER provides these vessels with rescue boats and davits as well as with winches for anchoring and mooring operations. It is the first time in PALFINGER’s history to be part of a robotic vessel project as such.
A giant leap forward
In 2022, the series of eight vessels will expand the newly launched Armada fleet to a total of 17 robotic ships. Specifically designed to operate as multi-role vessels, the additional vessels will support Ocean Infinity’s global operations from their control centers. With a length of 78 and a width of 15 meters, the vessels will be the first of their kind and represent a giant leap forward for the maritime industry.
Tailor-made equipment for autonomous operations PALFINGER is to deliver winches which are specially designed and developed for autonomous operations. “We have been working closely with VARD Group for a long time to develop tailor-made anchor winches. These meet all necessary requirements – specifically for autonomous and remote operations – and we are proud that our technology and solutions were selected for these innovative vessels,” says Gunther Fleck, Vice President Sales & Service Region Marine at PALFINGER. The winches with all their functions are electrically operated. Including a wide range of safety and redundant solutions, they enable smooth operations onboard unmanned vessels. In addition to the winches, PALFINGER will supply davits and rescue boats. The latter are built for operation in the most demanding environments and comply with the latest regulations defined by the maritime industry.
The new robotic ships will be built at VARD’s shipyard Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam. Their delivery is due in the period from mid-2022 to end-2023.