The unmanned surface robots will be launched by subsea technology and data company Ocean Infinity under a spin-out firm called Armada.

The autonomous vessels will be capable of launching remotely operated underwater vehicles to a maximum depth of 6000m that will carry out surveys on pipeline routes or acquire seismic data.

In addition, the vessels will operate without a nearby host vessel and instead be controlled via satellites from onshore facilities in the US state of Texas and UK city of Southampton.

Norwegian shipyard Grovfjord Mek. Verksted (GMV) has chosen Danfoss Editron to deliver the hybrid drivetrain systems and manufacturer Volvo Penta to deliver the engines for the fleet of robot exploration vessels.

Namely, Danfoss Editron is delivering the full hybrid-electric propulsion and power plant system for the fleet, consisting of a combination of batteries and diesel-generators. The company will also provide the energy management system and propulsion control for each vessel.

The Volvo Penta D8 MH variable speed engine will power the marine generator sets onboard. The engine’s low fuel consumption plays a big role in the significant CO2 emissions reduction.

The new Armada autonomous fleet does not require a host vessel, thus emitting up to 90% less CO2 emissions compared to conventional oceanographic survey methods, saving approximately 31,000 tons of CO2 a year.

It is actually the first time that a commercial autonomous fleet in being developed, rather than just being a prototype. We are very proud to have been chosen by GMV as their technology partners for this groundbreaking project,

...said Danfoss Editron’s Marine Director Erno Tenhunen, commenting on the project.

The first four vessels in the Armada fleet are for delivery to Ocean Infinity in 2021, with the remaining seven robots completed in the next months.