Peel Ports Group and ASV Global (ASV) have launched a partnership that will develop the use of autonomous vessel technology for UK port operations.
The partnership started at the Port of Liverpool with tests to understand the capabilities of the C-Cat-3, an autonomous vessel ideal for shallow survey operations.
It will begin seabed surveys at Brocklebank Dock, a dock on the River Mersey, England, using a Norbit iWBMS multibeam echosounder.
The successful demonstration has led Peel Ports Group to explore the possibility of using the technology at its other sites throughout the UK.
Peel Ports will facilitate access to its ports across the UK for further test programmes, allowing ASV to benefit from its expertise in port safety and operations.
To cement the partnership between the two companies, an official Memorandum of Understanding was signed in March by Gary Doyle from Peel Ports and Vince Dobbin from ASV Global.
The partnership will encourage shared learning and address the challenges relating to using autonomous vessels within UK ports. It will also explore possibilities for collaborative development projects.
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Gary Doyle, Group Harbour Master at Peel Ports, said: “Bringing the best in class expertise together, we will facilitate an increased understanding of the benefits of autonomous vessels within port operations.
“The industry is already pushing for their commercial use and autonomous vessels are already widely accepted by our customers, especially those in the energy sector.
“This partnership with global leader ASV will cement our commitment to ensuring we are at the forefront of research and the latest cutting-edge technologies which will provide the best possible service to our customers.”
Vince Dobbin, Sales and Marketing Director, ASV Global, said: “There is enormous potential for the application of ASV technology within UK ports; we are delighted to be partnering with Peel Ports to leverage our combined expertise to realize these opportunities.
“Autonomous vessels have been gaining ground globally over recent years, we have proven the application of ASVs in a number of offshore environments and are excited to explore new areas of application.”