Offshore services company Bourbon has entered into an MOU with Automated Ships Ltd (ASL) to support the building of the world’s first autonomous, fully-automated and cost-efficient prototype vessel for offshore operations, in collaboration with the project’s primary technology partner, Kongsberg.
Bourbon will leverage its expertise in building and operating a standardized fleet to provide detailed input to the development and design of the Hrönn project. In the second phase of the project, Bourbon and ASL will join forces to explore financing of the construction of the prototype.
Hrönn is a light-duty, offshore utility ship servicing the offshore energy, hydrographic and scientific and offshore fish-farming industries. It can also be used as a ROV and AUV support ship and standby vessel, able to provide firefighting support to an offshore platform working in cooperation with manned vessels. ASL has progressed the original catamaran design of Hrönn since the project launch on November 1, 2016, opting for a monohulled vessel of steel construction, to provide more payload capacity and greater flexibility in the diverse range of operations.
Bourbon’s entry to the Hrönn project follows the recent news that it has joined forces with Kongsberg in a new collaboration to develop digital solutions for next generation connected and autonomous vessels. The two companies will execute joint projects to develop new ways of efficient operations in the offshore services industry, with a fast time-to market.
Kongsberg will deliver all major marine equipment necessary for the design, construction and operation of Hrönn, including all systems for dynamic positioning and navigation, satellite and position reference, marine automation and communication. Its vessel control systems including K-Pos dynamic positioning, K-Chief automation and K-Bridge ECDIS and Radar will be replicated at an Onshore Control Centre, allowing full remote operations of Hrönn.
Hrönn’s Sea trials will take place in Norway’s officially designated automated vessel test bed in the Trondheim fjord and will be conducted under the auspices of DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority. Hrönn will ultimately be classed and flagged, respectively.