iXblue, a global company that provides innovative solutions for the Geosciences, Offshore Energies and Defense markets, announces the launch of its new multi-purpose Autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel (AUSV) nicknamed DriX. With proven offshore navigation capabilities and a top-speed unique in its category, DriX takes the AUSV role several steps further.

This new asset, developed through a proper vertical integration and a third-party-friendly approach, offers a comprehensive solution for advanced sea operations. Born from an in-house survey need, DriX has been especially designed around its unmanned nature. Made out of composite material and with a revolutionary hull shape optimized for both coastal and offshore missions, DriX operates with the utmost stability, guaranteeing the best possible results, with excellent and unmatched performances on the high sea. DriX can operate independently in the most hostile weathers and environments, with the least number of hoisting manoeuvres possible, exponentially saving vessel time.

“Our aim was to create an AUSV that was truly multi-role and which would expand the working domains of a traditional research vessel. In order to do that, we needed a vehicle that was light, resilient and with high-endurance.” Guillaume Eudeline, Business Development Manager for the Shipyard Division at iXblue explains further. “We also wanted to take full advantage of its unmanned nature, which meant that it was designed by our shipyard, without any references to a human carrier hull shape. This is how we created a truly independent, safe, multi-role AUSV that saves manpower. DriX is really bringing an added value to the market.”

Consisting of a main body, a mast and a gondola bolted onto a drop keel, DriX is 7.7 meters long and 0.7 meters wide, with a draft of 2.0 meters. The possible change of the gondola and its payloads, with its third-party-friendly architecture, makes it especially suitable for multiple applications such as exploration, pre-site installation, touchdown monitoring, undersea inspection, Metocean, decommissioning, as well as environmental, geophysical, and hydrographic surveys. Should a change of payload occur, the electronic cabinets, housed in the main body, are easily accessible and removable, allowing for a swift and easy switch.

Regardless of the application, data-acquisition is made excellent, even at high-speed, thanks to a number of design improvements, such as a wave piercer shape that keeps the slamming effect to a minimum, even in rough seas. The payload, embedded in the gondola, is in an optimum data gathering environment, 2.0 meters under the surface, in noise-reduced and bubble-free surroundings. The data gathered can be transmitted through WIFI or radio waves. It can also, if necessary, be retrieved manually through an on-board retrieval plug.

Powered by a single propeller that enables an unmatched top-speed of 15 knots, DriX offers up to 7 days of endurance. Multiple navigation options are also available such as autopilot, remote supervisor action, a “follow-me” function and a “hovering” mode, all COLREG compliant. With DriX, iXblue certainly positions itself as a serious contender on the AUSV market. With this new state-of-the-art unmanned vessel, iXblue offers a comprehensive solution for a number of advanced applications, making DriX a real game-changer for smarter sea operations.

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