The three companies participated in the 23rd edition of the event, held in Southampton, UK, where the vessel completed manoeuvres and demonstrated its autonomous credentials to visitors and fellow exhibitors.
The vessel was on show at the waterfront throughout the event, with a control station also available for inspection, where the craft’s remote control and autonomous waypoint navigation systems where on display.
An expert team, including representatives from Star International, Narwhal, UTEK and optical specialists MILTECH were also on-hand to explain the technology behind the craft, which has been developed specifically to make unmanned vessel technology a cost-effective option for operators.
Matthew Ball, Director at Star International said: “USVs are a highly effective tool for marine operators, but initial costs have proven prohibitive for some when it comes to making that initial investment in the technology.
“Our USV solutions offer a cost-effective unmanned capability. These craft are highly reliable and use proven technologies that can turn a standard RIB into an automated asset, at a fraction of the cost of other, similarly capable options.”.
Dr César Martínez, CEO at UTEK added: “The KALUGA is typical of the capabilities we can deliver; durable, easy to operate and adaptable to the requirements of numerous offshore operations.
“Our technology is not limited to what is on display here, we can design and build a payload that will integrate with most off the shelf craft to provide a bespoke USV solution.
“Our approach uses tried and tested technologies that can remove personnel from dangerous operations and provide significant cost savings over the lifetime of the vessel in comparison to crewed alternatives.”
The KALUGA is built on a commercial Narwhal HD 620 RIB, combined with a 150HP Mercury outboard and standard control console, all integrated into the UTEK USV control system. The vessel features systems including gyroscopic MILTECH optical and infrared cameras, radar and two-way communications with system fail safes that ensure the vessel remains under control under all eventualities.
The technology behind the vessel can be applied to applications within sectors including oceanographic survey, renewable energy, oil and gas, transport, border patrol and defence, with a huge choice of options to enhance the vessel’s operational range, data gathering and defence capabilities.
The KALUGA will be appearing at other industry events over the coming months, together with three NATO backed exercises and demonstration operations with several European navies.
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