Ocean Infinity, a seabed survey and ocean research company based in the United States, has released the first photographs of their Armada 78m remotely operated ship taking to the water, and shared them with Offshore Engineer.
More than two years ago, in February 2020, Ocean Infinity first announced its plans to build the world's largest fleet of unmanned surface vehicles (USV). Then in November 2020, it decided to expand the fleet with 78 meters long robotic vessels that can be optionally crewed, placing an order for six of those units with VARD.
In a statement on Monday, sharing the Armada 78m vessel photos, the company said: "This ship is the first of 23, innovative low-emission vessels, set to transform operations at sea."
At the time of ordering the eight 78 meters vessels, Ocean Infinity said the first 78m vessel was expected to launch in mid-2022, and according to the photos shared by Ocean Infinity, the construction is progressing as planned.
The company's Armada fleet will consist of USVs (some of them optionally crewed) of various lengths: 21 meters, 36 meters, 78 meters, and 85 meters.
The 78-meter units are expected to initially only use a skeleton crew on board, and eventually, the vessels will be able of working with no personnel offshore.
Also, the vessels, which are designed to provide services in the offshore energy industry and logistics and maritime transport industries, will be able to run on ammonia, reducing emissions.
VARD said in 2020 that the 78-meter vessels would have high DP2 performance, vast deck space, and twin moonpools, making them ideally suited for various extended payload operations requiring precision such as ROV and AUV deployments and logistics.