Fugro, a world’s leading Geo-data specialist, has announced a strategic partnership with SEAKIT International, winner of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

SEA-KIT, a global provider of hi-tech solutions to maritime and research industries, will work with Fugro to develop a new range of agile and compact uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) which can deploy remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for marine asset inspections. The first USVs will be launched before the end of this year, and a larger USV model is being designed for delivery in 2021. These inspection-related USVs are being developed alongside Fugro’s range of USVs for hydrographic data acquisition.

Mark Heine, Chief Executive Officer at Fugro, said: “We are excited to be partnering with SEA-KIT International to develop a range of USVs that will transform the marine industry. Together with other strategic alliances, this partnership represents a major acceleration to our strategy of leading the development of remote and autonomous solutions, which is key to delivering a safer and more sustainable approach to constructing and maintaining marine assets.”

Ben Simpson, Managing Director of SEA-KIT International, commented: “We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Fugro, which will combine our design and build expertise with Fugro’s track record in the marine inspection market. Together we can push for better sustainability in the marine industry and lead the way for others to follow.”

In addition to investing in USVs and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), Fugro has built a global network of seven remote operations centers (ROCs) to deliver fast, safe and efficient inspection and positioning services, including two new ROCs in Aberdeen, Scotland, and Leidschendam, the Netherlands, both opened in 2019. By the end of 2020, Fugro will be the first company in the world to provide offshore subsea inspections via USVs and ROVs that are operated from onshore ROCs.

Fugro and SEA-KIT International will accelerate the development and use of uncrewed vessels, remotely operated from Fugro’s ROCs, to improve safety, efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact on marine activities. The new range of USVs will consume up to 95 % less fuel than traditional vessels, supporting international ambitions for zero global emissions in the marine industry.

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