Join our crew and become one of the 105,676 members that receive our newsletter.

A photo of the Saildrone Voyager in calm seas

At 33 feet, the Saildrone Voyager is designed specifically for ocean mapping and maritime security missions. Copyright 2023 SAILDRONE. All Rights Reserved.

Saildrone Receives First-Ever Classification for Autonomous Surface Vehicle

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1713
November 7, 2023

Alameda, California-based Saildrone, a leading company in ocean data collection using autonomous vehicles, has achieved a significant milestone by receiving the first-ever classification for an autonomous, uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The classification was awarded to the Saildrone Voyager, a 10-meter USV that specializes in near-shore bathymetry and maritime security. This classification makes the Voyager as the first commercial USV to receive such classification.

Saildrone said the milestone represents a major accomplishment as it allows the Voyager to operate in ports and waters of countries that require vessel class approval and also highlights Saildrone’s commitment to safety, standardization, and reliability in both technology and operations.

“Saildrone has spent three years maturing the Voyager design to be the industry leader in capability, reliability, and safety in the uncrewed vehicle sector,” said Richard Jenkins, CEO and founder of Saildrone. “This classification from the American Bureau of Shipping defines the new gold standard for uncrewed systems and underscores the maturity of our technology.”

Equipped with advanced sensors and instruments, the Voyager is designed for coastal ocean mapping operations. It carries a high-resolution multibeam echo sounder (MBES), an Innomar SBP system, and an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor suite comprising a smart camera array, digital radar, and sub-surface passive acoustics. Saildrone says the Voyager is the only survey USV capable of delivering long-duration multibeam mapping surveys meeting the highest industry standards.

Saildrone USVs are powered primarily by wind and solar energy. They collect a wide range of ocean data above and below the sea surface, enabling scientific organizations, government agencies, and commercial partners to access valuable information.

“Uncrewed drone vehicles have huge potential to change the way we operate at sea and are a first step towards commercial autonomous vessels,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “ABS is a leader in this space, working with key partners all over the world to support the development and adoption of the technologies and strategies autonomous shipping will be built on. Saildrone Voyager is exciting technology and a key milestone on the road to more autonomous operations, and we are proud to be able to use our experience to support it.”

This classification follows ABS’s earlier grant of Approval in Principle for the Voyager and the larger 20-meter Surveyor platform, which helps clients evaluate the feasibility of their designs.

With the Voyager now classified, Saildrone is expanding its data delivery services for scientific organizations, government agencies, and commercial partners, revolutionizing the way ocean data is collected and utilized for science, commercial, and defense applications worldwide.

Unlock Exclusive Insights Today!

Join the gCaptain Club for curated content, insider opinions, and vibrant community discussions.

Sign Up
Back to Main
polygon icon polygon icon

Why Join the gCaptain Club?

Access exclusive insights, engage in vibrant discussions, and gain perspectives from our CEO.

Sign Up


Maritime and offshore news trusted by our 105,676 members delivered daily straight to your inbox.

gCaptain’s full coverage of the maritime shipping industry, including containerships, tankers, dry bulk, LNG, breakbulk and more.