The VARD 9 60 design vessels for Armada have a length of 78 meters and beam of 15 meters. Illustration courtesy Vard/Ocean Infinity

Ocean Infinity Expands AUV Fleet

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1535
January 31, 2022

The AUVs will join Ocean Infinity’s “Armada” fleet of unmanned or partially-manned data acquisition ships.

U.S.-based subsea company Ocean Infinity has expanded its fleet of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) with the addition of six Kongsberg Maritime HUGIN AUVs.

The AUVs, rated to 3,000 meters, are equipped with a geophysical sensor suite and latest-generation batteries.

The new AUVs will join Ocean Infinity’s remote operations infrastructure as part of its “Armada” fleet of unmanned and optionally-crewed vessels.

Ocean Infinity launched “Armada” in February 2020. The new company seeks to operate a fleet of unmanned vessels promising to break new ground in offshore data acquisition. The company has since signed shipbuilding contracts for eight 78-meter remote-control vessels with Norwegian designer and shipbuilder Vard, in addition to nine smaller vessels already on order with the shipbuilder.

Initially, Ocean Infinity plans to operate the vessels using only a skeleton crew, but will eventually shift to 100% unmanned and renewable operations.

“Lessening the environmental impact of operations at sea is core to our business, and with an expanded fleet of robotics, we’ll have greater capacity to offer sustainable offshore data acquisition services,” said Dan Hook, CTO of Ocean Infinity. “Using these AUVs as part of our robotic fleet, we’ll be supporting the growing renewables sector with remote data and inspection services.”

“This latest order from Ocean Infinity takes their fleet of HUGIN AUVs to more than 20, making them uniquely placed to deliver data acquisition services at an unmatched scale,” added Richard Mills, Vice President Marine Robotics Sales with Kongsberg Maritime. “They also include the introduction of some new capabilities enabling operators to interface more easily with third-party software and also control adaptive behaviours in response to data collected in-mission.”

Josh Broussard, Director of Sub-Surface Technology at Ocean Infinity, said: “These new AUVs include special software interfaces which will allow us to integrate our remote operations technology, mission planning and dive management software, along with a backseat driver allowing the vehicle to react to payload sensor output. Combined, these technologies will enable greater autonomy, resulting in smart and efficient data gathering.”

As a deep sea exploration firm, Houston-based Ocean Infinity has been behind some of the most high-profile deep ocean finds in recent years, including locating the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan in 2018, as well as finding the missing sunken ore carrier Stellar Daisy in South Atlantic Ocean in 2019. The company also led the private search for the MH370 aircraft in the Indian Ocean, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

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