According to information released by the British Royal Navy on June 8, 2021, the British Royal Navy is expected to be involved in Europe’s leading maritime operations and training center for robotic vehicles. Joined by Seabot XR and the UK’s National Center for Oceanography (NOC), the facility will provide future-proof training for civilian and military vessel operations.
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Autonomous mine hunting boat as part of the Wilton project. (Image source LPhot Will Haigh)
The partners, all active members of the Solent Maritime Enterprise Zone, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create the National Center for Operational Excellence in Marine Robotics, based in Southampton.
The MoU brings together the expertise of the three key players in autonomous maritime surface vessel operations and autonomous submarine operational training. Together they will create the center which will deliver new training standards using the world-renowned British NOC facilities and other satellite facilities.
The requirements for training in marine robotics are very different from those that exist today in the maritime training industry. To fill this gap, a program is being created specifically for autonomous and remote surface and submarine operations to ensure that a workforce, like that of the Royal Navy, has the skills and the knowledge necessary to operate vessels.
The MoU will see a combined training and testing site where companies can try out their own autonomous and remote-controlled vessels, as well as benefit from pioneering in-person training designed for military and civilian maritime operations. Customers will have access to a remote operations center and various surface vessels and submarines to experience different weather and tidal conditions, vessel characteristics and operational functionality.
The center of excellence will be based at NOC’s two UK test facilities in Southampton, England and Loch Ness, Scotland, and will be officially launched at the Marine Autonomy Technology Showcase, MATS Southampton, in November 2021 .