VESSEL REVIEW | Argus – Versatile hybrid survey and inspection USV for Norway’s Argeo

Photo: Argeo

Norwegian subsea survey and inspection company Argeo is the initial operator of a new type of multi-purpose unmanned surface vehicle (USV) designed and built by compatriot unmanned systems manufacturer Maritime Robotics. Named Argus, the recently delivered craft is also Argeo’s first uncrewed survey and inspection vehicle. It will be used to address customer requirements for accurate ocean mapping, especially within the offshore wind market.

The USV will perform advanced mapping and inspection services using robotics and autonomous ocean space technology for offshore and energy projects in water depths of between two and 200 metres. Developed jointly by Argeo and Maritime Robotics, the craft is a low-emission, hybrid-powered platform equipped with advanced navigation, supervision, and hydrographic and geophysical systems.

Argus is of all-polyethylene construction, which Maritime Robotics claims offers a stable and near maintenance-free construction. Operation of the USV is via Maritime Robotics’ proprietary command and control portal that provides situational awareness through radar, AIS and camera integration.

The craft has a length of nine metres, a beam of 2.5 metres, a height of three metres, a draught of 1.5 metres, and a displacement of 7,000 kilograms at full load. ​The USV also boasts full position control enabling worldwide safe and remote supervised operations at any time of day.

Photo: Maritime Robotics

Argus can operate out at sea for up to 25 days thanks to a hybrid propulsion system consisting of a Yanmar 4LV230 engine, a Hamilton HJX29 waterjet, and two Torqeedo electric backup motors powered by an 11.2kWh battery bank. This configuration guarantees extended endurance as well as a top speed of 12 knots while more economical cruising will be done at eight knots and surveys will be carried out at four or five knots.

The vessel can offer improved operational and sensor configuration flexibility with a configurable aft deck with two moonpools. The USV’s electronics consist of a Teledyne FLIR rotating thermal camera and other sensors from Intellian. Other standard features include a GNSS compass, a Class B AIS, wifi connectivity, and an LTE modem.

The deck space has a rail system to allow for mounting of custom payloads including survey navigation equipment, satellite communications, generators, winches, and other light cargo. The bow area meanwhile houses core hardware and payload racks with communications and radar underneath a dedicated protective radome, thus leaving the aft deck available for custom applications.

Argeo CEO Trond Crantz said Argus will also support the activities of clients in other segments such as offshore oil and gas, mineral extraction, environmental monitoring, unexploded ordnance (UXO) surveys, and inspections of infrastructure and installations. For UXO, the USV can potentially be configured to accommodate Argeo’s proprietary electromagnetic technology and a new ultra-high-resolution seismic system.

Crantz added that with Argus, Argeo was also able to achieve a 95 per cent reduction in emissions compared to traditional manned vessels.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on unmanned craft.

Type of vessel:USV – Survey and inspection
Owner:Argeo, Norway
Designer:Maritime Robotics, Norway
Builder:Maritime Robotics, Norway
Hull construction material:Polyethylene
Superstructure construction material:Polyethylene
Deck construction material:Polyethylene
Length overall:9.0 metres
Beam:2.5 metres
Draught:1.5 metres
Displacement:7,000 kilograms
Main engine:Yanmar 4LV230
Propulsion:HamiltonJet HJX249; 2 x Torqeedo
Maximum speed:12 knots
Cruising speed:8.0 knots
Batteries:11.5 kWh
AIS:Class B
Camera:Teledyne FLIR
Other electronics:Intellian; LTE modem
Other equipment installed:2 x moonpools

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