The maritime and scientific community have set themselves the ambitious target to map the entire ocean floor by 2030. Volvo Penta is doing its part to meet this goal — by helping to power a novel fleet of unmanned surface robots for subsea exploration.

Volvo Penta and Danfoss Edition have been selected to be part of a truly unique venture. The companies have been commissioned — above numerous other manufacturers — by Grovfjord Mek. Verksted (GMV) shipyard, to power the world’s first fleet of autonomous robot exploration vessels for commercial use. The seafloor analysis and oceanography company — Ocean Infinity — has invested in the “Armada” fleet of super-advanced unmanned vessels. The fleet will be made up of two sizes of vessels both of which will be 100% diesel-electric.

“Volvo Penta is delighted to be part of this groundbreaking project in cooperation with Danfoss Editron,” Johan Inden, head of the marine segment at Volvo Penta, said in a prepared statement. “Together, we will deliver an optimized power solution — to the autonomous Armada fleet — designed for ultimate performance while reducing the environmental footprint.”

“This is the first time that a commercial autonomous fleet is being developed, rather than just being a prototype,” explains Erno Tenhunen, marine director at Danfoss Editron. “We are very proud to have been chosen for powering it.”


These fully hybrid-electric vessels will be powered by Volvo Penta DC gensets and Danfoss DC grid controls. Danfoss will provide the energy management system and propulsion control for each vessel while the engines behind the power management will be variable speed gensets delivered by Volvo Penta.
The Volvo Penta D8 MH variable-speed engine will power the marine generator sets on board. This all-new D8 engine is a perfect match for the autonomous vessels due to its compact size and high power to weight ratio. Additionally, the engine’s low fuel consumption plays a big role in the significant CO2 reduction.


One of the key objectives for a project like this is to deliver a reliable and efficient product. These vessels will be in the open ocean far away from land and maintenance providers. Ocean Infinity needs to know that its vessels are meeting peak performance.

Danfoss Editron, Volvo Penta, and Grovfjord are working in close collaboration to enable the Danfoss control system to optimize the use of the Volvo Penta D8 engine for the most efficient power/consumption performance and consequently an optimal environmental footprint. The engine, the generator, and the control system work in perfect harmony.

The generator set is also designed around maximum weight savings and the corporation with The Volvo Penta genset outlet Powerhouse has added an additional element of flexibility to ensure the delivery of the power package suitable for the vessel.