An agreement has been reached between Kongsberg Maritime and Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) for the supply of four autonomous vessels. These vessels will be used for monitoring and management of marine environments and resources.
Under this agreement, Kongsberg Maritime will be supplying two Kongsberg Maritime Sounder USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) and two KONGSBERG AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles). The KONGSBERG AUVs are scheduled for delivery this year, with the USVs following in the late summer/early autumn of 2022.
“As we embark on the next stage in this project, we are happy to do so alongside our trusted and long-term partner Kongsberg Maritime,” CEO of IMR, Sissel Rogne said. “We are seeing a wide range of changes in our coastal and ocean ecosystems – and these changes happen fast. In response to this, we must streamline and increase our management efforts. To obtain this we need innovative and reliable partners, and the cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime is therefore vital to us. Their USVs and AUVs will initially work alongside our traditional research vessels in an ‘armada strategy,’ but will subsequently operate more independently as we expand our plans.”
The four autonomous vessels will be equipped with KONGSBERG’s new Blue Insight, a cloud-based ecosystem designed to facilitate remote instrument operation, data visualisation and smart management of oceanographic and meteorological data. Infrastructure for automated classification of fish through machine learning is a key feature of the delivery, consolidating the long-running partnership between KONGSBERG and the IMR towards the goal of implementing seagoing drones for ecosystem management.
“We’re very pleased to have secured this contract with the IMR,” Sales Director of Ocean Science at Kongsberg Maritime, Tonny Algrøy added. “This delivery builds upon decades of collaborative work with the IMR to create innovative solutions for ocean ecosystem monitoring, and the addition of smart platforms plus a new E-infrastructure solution is a logical next step in this shared history.”
The IMR is committed to promoting sustainable practices at sea, and digitalisation is the foundation of this policy. Stimulus programmes have been introduced last year as to facilitate remote working during and after the pandemic. These have accelerated the institute’s wholesale adoption of high-tech digital solutions, supported by a substantial digital investment by Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, in addition to external research grants.
Credit: Kongsberg Maritime