At the beginning of this year, the first Armada ship arrived in Norway – to VARD Søviknes – after its maiden voyage, which began on the 19th of November in Vietnam.
This is the first of eight highly advanced, 78-meter vessels preparing to become the world’s first entirely robotic fleet. The fleet will enable Ocean Infinity, a UK-based company specializing in maritime robotics, to perform tech-enabled lean-crewed operations for a safer and greener maritime future.
In partnership with Ocean Infinity, VARD has designed a unique, multi-purpose platform that will allow for onshore remote-controlled, lean-crewed, and eventually uncrewed operations.
The robotic ships will be made ready for future environmentally responsible fuels and renewable energy sources. These ships will be able to carry out research operations with zero crew on board and will also have the benefit of 24/7 operations, greater efficiency in gathering maritime data, and the ability to reach challenging spots. They’ll be fitted with advanced marine electronics for remote operations, including sensors, navigation systems, plus modular launch and recovery systems. They will also operate with fewer emissions.
On delivery, the Armada fleet will accommodate a lean crew and use hybrid solutions that are designed to evolve through various stages of future fuel implementation to ensure they remain at the forefront of low-emission performance to minimize the environmental impact of operations. The hybrid propulsion systems cut emissions by up to 90% and are adapted for the use of innovative fuels, such as hydrogen and ammonia, in the future.
Ocean Infinity has taken the delivery of the first ship, which is expected to go into service on offshore data acquisition tasks in the coming months following its final installation work. This milestone marks the beginning of a new phase for Ocean Infinity, which has been pioneering the use of robotics to collect subsea data at scale with minimal environmental impact since 2016.