The Saildrone Voyager, a 10-meter (33’) commercial uncrewed surface vehicle (USV), is the first autonomous asset built to ABS class using the ABS Requirements for Autonomous and Remote Control Functions. ABS recently presented the class certificate to Saildrone at the company’s headquarters in Alameda, Calif.
The Voyager vehicle was developed by Saildrone, a provider of ocean data for climate, mapping and maritime security applications using uncrewed autonomous assets. ABS issued Approval in Principle (AIP) to the Voyager earlier this year, a key step to full classification.
“Uncrewed drone vehicles have huge potential to change the way we operate at sea and are a first step toward commercial autonomous vessels,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president and chief technology officer, in announcing the certification.
“ABS is a leader in this space, working with key partners all over the world to support 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,” said Ryan.
“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.”
Saildrone’s Voyager is the company’s midsized platform in its growing fleet, carrying payloads for coastal ocean mapping operations, including high-resolution MBES and Innomar SBP systems. The Voyager “is the only survey USV that can deliver long-duration multibeam mapping surveys meeting the highest industry standards,” according to the company. “Its ISR sensor suite for defense applications includes a smart camera array, digital radar, and subsurface passive acoustics.”
Saildrone USVs are equipped with a suite of sensors and instruments, enabling them to collect a wide range of ocean data above and below the sea surface. They are primarily powered by wind and solar energy, making Saildrone USVs an environmentally friendly solution for long-duration ocean data missions.
Earlier last summer, ABS granted Approval in Principal (AIP) for both the Voyager and Saildrone’s larger 20-meter (65-foot) Surveyor platform. AIP helps clients evaluate the feasibility of their designs and is a key step toward full classification.