Firstly, ASV’s team visited the Port of Liverpool, to demonstrate the C-Cat-3, an autonomous vessel for shallow survey operations. Then Peel Ports Group decided to explore the possibility of using the technology at its other sites throughout the UK. As such, Peel Ports will facilitate access to its ports across the country for further test programmes.

An official Memorandum of Understanding was signed in March by Gary Doyle from Peel Ports and Vince Dobbin from ASV Global, to cement the partnership, which is expected to encourage shared learning and address the challenges relating to using autonomous vessels, as well as to explore possibilities for collaborative development projects.

Gary Doyle, Group Harbour Master at Peel Ports, said:

...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.

Vince Dobbin, Sales and Marketing Director, ASV Global, said:

There is enormous potential for the application of ASV technology within UK ports...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.

Last month, UK Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, outlined his vision for the UK to be at the forefront of a maritime technology revolution, noting that UK's maritime industry is on the verge of a technological revolution that could make shipping faster, safer and more environmentally friendly. Later in the same month, the UK Department of Transport informed that innovative technology, such as autonomous ships and digital ports, will be on the agenda with the appointment of a group of experts to help advise on the future of maritime.