Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Change of Ownership for Company Extending Ocean Autonomous Craft Capabilities

Vessels Can Work Independently Using No Fuel On Long Range Ocean Surveys
Shipping News Feature
UK – WORLDWIDE – Autonomous vehicles are one of the high interest developments in recent months with advances made in truck technology, pilotless aircraft and even cargo vessels all under discussion but the likelihood is that it is in specialist areas the new technologies will have the most major impact. MOST (Autonomous Vessels), was founded in 2012 and has now changed its name to AutoNaut Ltd., designing and manufacturing wave-propelled boats, equipped to operate as an autonomous marine data collection hub.

The company has just seen a further cash injection from the Devon headquartered Seiche Group which specialises in underwater acoustic and visual systems for mitigation and measurement and which agreed its first investment last September with this new deal seeing it take a majority stake in the Chichester based company.

Autonaut currently has a fleet of craft is now in production in a range of sizes to suit multiple applications across the Oil & Gas, Renewables, Civil Engineering, Research and Science sectors as well as for Defence, Security and Surveillance. These innovative craft require no fuel, making them capable of long endurance ocean missions. The vessels are storm-proven and operate persistently at up to 4 knots with the manoeuvrability to perform a range of survey tasks from station-keeping to complex transects. A suite of state-of-the-art sensors can be fitted, including gyro-stabilised HD cameras, hydrophone, oceanographic sensors, electronic and radar detection equipment.

The craft may then act as a communications bridge to transmit data to shore in real time for remote offshore operations. These capabilities open up monitoring (PAM), pipeline inspection and surveillance for illegal fisheries and border patrol. Roy Wyatt, MD of Seiche, comments:

“AutoNaut is set to be the go-to marine data collection hub of the future. AutoNaut can independently operate offshore for months fitted with a suite of cutting edge sensor technologies. AutoNaut complements and completes Seiche’s portfolio of monitoring, mitigation and measurement products and services.”

Successful trials monitoring noise in the English Channel have recently been completed with a PAM-AutoNaut, in partnership with Plymouth University. This PAM application will be developed further in the coming months with a baseline sound survey for Oil and Gas industry in UK waters. Participation will then follow in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) section of the NATO Unmanned Warrior exercise off the Hebrides in October. AutoNaut directors David Maclean and Mike Poole will continue to run the company from their West Sussex base, concentrating on Technical and Marketing/Sales activity respectively. The investment from Seiche will provide additional resources for R&D and manufacturing as well as administrative support whilst Seiche will also help to expand all sales and marketing activity. As one of the fastest growing companies in the marine technology sector, Seiche says it will provide a springboard for AutoNaut into a number of commercial markets. David Maclean of AutoNaut observed:

“Seiche’s investment gives us a great opportunity to take our AutoNaut business to the next level of growth and to tackle the expanding global market for specific applications of marine autonomous systems. In four years we have taken a revolutionary wave propulsion technology, proved it is seaworthy, and turned it into a widely capable marine data collection hub to gather and transmit data from below, above, and at the surface of the world’s oceans. Now, with Seiche’s investment, AutoNaut can realise its full potential.”

A video of an AutoNaut craft working at sea can be viewed here.