Wednesday, February 28, 2024

RC Dock Unveils First Biofuel and Hybrid USV For Inspection, Maintenance, Repair And Survey

RC Dock, an industry leader in marine robotics and innovative shipbuilding, is proud to announce the delivery of its first fully classed offshore Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) designed for Inspection, Maintenance, Repair (IMR) and survey operations. This revolutionary 12-meter catamaran represents a new era in offshore marine automation, delivering unparalleled efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

A Milestone Achievement in Marine Automation

With over 25 years of expertise in marine automation and platform design, RC Dock is breaking new ground by offering flexible and sustainable inspection and survey solutions. The groundbreaking USV has been proven in harsh North Sea conditions during winter 2022-2023, demonstrating over 90% less CO2 emissions than conventional offshore vessels.

“At 25 tons, we’ve successfully created Europe’s largest commercial and class-certified USV, providing a stable and safe platform for offshore wind farm inspections and multi-sensor deployment with a 5-ton payload capacity. This vessel represents more than just a product; it’s a real, trial-tested solution that advances offshore capabilities while significantly reducing costs and environmental impact,” says Ronald Kraft, RC Dock’s founder.

Cutting-edge Design and Technology

  • Modular Twin Hulls:
    The twin hull design enables easy and low-cost mobilization. By designing the hulls to fit within standard shipping containers, transportation becomes both efficient and environmentally friendly. This containerized solution is recognized for providing the lowest CO2 emissions per ton of cargo transported one mile, making the vessel’s project mobilization the most efficient and environmentally form of commercial transport.
  • Inspection / Work Class ROV Capability:
    Equipped with an in-house developed launch and recovery system, the USV can host Inspection / Work class ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). This enables real-time, over-the-horizon (OTH) remote-operated underwater inspections and repair work, broadening the vessel’s utility in maritime operations.
  • Revolutionary Launch, Recovery, and Towed Sensor Management System:
    The vessel’s advanced system for managing the launch, recovery, and towing of sensors, specifically for ROTV (Remotely Operated Towed Vehicle) operations, adds another layer of capability and control. This system allows for precise deployment and management of towed sensors, providing more reliable and low-cost data collection.
  • Surface and Subsea Imagery:
    The vessel’s surface and subsea imagery sensors facilitate detailed observation and monitoring of marine assets. Integration with AI-supported classification and 3D image technology allows the vessel to accurately identify and model above- and underwater objects. This technology aids in everything from underwater security, infrastructure inspection and critical asset protection, further enhancing the vessel’s utility.
  • 100% Biofuel and Hybrid Propulsion Solution:
    In line with the growing emphasis on sustainability, the USV is powered by a combination of 100% biofuel and a hybrid propulsion system. This green technology allows for carbon-neutral operations for over 30 days, with a 10-knot transit speed and a 7-knot survey speed.  This sets a new benchmark for decarbonizing Operation & Maintenance (O&M) vessel operations for offshore wind farms.”

Intelligent Remote Operations

Leveraging RC Dock’s extensive operational experience in the North Sea, the USV enables intelligent remote survey solutions and the automation of tedious manual tasks. This innovation achieves significant time and cost savings for clients while reducing offshore HSE risks and carbon emissions.

“A Master and qualified watchkeepers monitors the USV 24/7 from a control center onshore. Even by deploying different autonomous functions to the vessel control systems, such as collision avoidance and AI-supported image recognition and avoidance functionalities, RC Dock emphasizes the importance of keeping 24/7 human operators in the loop. This approach increases safety assurance towards our customers, especially when operating in traffic-congested areas and during complex offshore projects. Rather than removing the crew, we’re relocating them onshore where they can perform their tasks without risking the open seas for monotonous inspection duties,” adds Kraft, underscoring the benefits of remote-controlled unmanned operations.

Future Plans and Partnerships

After extensive trials that proved operational reliability, RC Dock’s first offshore-classed uncrewed USV was built for Middle East-based Sovereign Global Solutions. Additional units are on order and planned for delivery in late 2023. A larger 23-meter sister vessel USV is set to debut in 2024.

“Project SeaRover: RC Dock has designed a disruptive and innovative platform that is set to commence testing by Q4 of 2023. This groundbreaking, force-multiplying USV is equipped with its own intelligent Launch and Recovery System (LARS) and will have the capability to operate multiple units from a mother vessel, even under the challenging weather conditions of the North Sea. This all-in-one advanced functionality underscores RC Dock’s unwavering commitment to spearheading technological advancements in the maritime sector.”

Ronald Kraft concludes, “RC Dock continues to invest in remote and autonomous technologies to enable offshore operators to acquire mission-critical data at a low cost and perform safe subsea work anywhere offshore. Our uncrewed USV and force multiplier solutions are for sale or charter and are game-changers, allowing our customers to improve efficiency, safety, and emissions reductions through our innovative vessels and shore-based support.”

ABOUT RC DOCK RC Dock is an innovative marine robotics manufacturer and shipyard based in Ijmuiden, The Netherlands. Specializing in developing uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), launch and recovery systems, and autonomous mooring systems. RC Dock has transformed offshore operations. Its investment in remote-operated vessel capabilities, advanced payload integrations, and cutting-edge technologies make it a leading player in the maritime industry, with a strong focus on offshore energy operators, especially in offshore wind.

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