Photo: Exail

First for Lloyd’s Register as it certifies an uncrewed surface vessel

Lloyd’s Register has awarded its first certification for an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) to the DriX maritime surface drone.

The DriX USV, developed by iXblue and ECA Group under the new joint brand called Exail, has already received Bureau Veritas Approval in Principle (AiP).

The new certification is said to attest that the surface drone meets critical safety requirements to be operated at sea.

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“At Exail, we are closely involved in developing maritime drones’ regulations, trying to raise the standards and acceptance of USVs,” said Stéphane Vannuffelen, Marine Autonomy Technical Director at Exail.

“By working together with class societies such as Lloyd’s Register, that attest of maritime drones’ highest levels of safety and environmental compliance, we aim to demonstrate that autonomous technologies are safe to deploy and operate. Through such collaborations, we hope to be able to help strengthen the global acceptance of maritime drones within our industries, as they support operational efficiency, as well as a safe, sustainable maritime energy transition.”

The DriX system design was reviewed against the Lloyd’s Register Code for Unmanned Marine Systems and included a system-level analysis, construction survey, as well as sea trials.

The review covered essential design area such as structural integrity, stability, as well as command and control in the context of remotely supervised autonomy.

“The open and collaborative approach our teams adopted made it much easier for us to explore the specific risks associated with the autonomous system and ensure that appropriate and proportionate controls were in place. Consequently, we are able to provide a clear and robust safety argument to regulators, backed by the independent endorsement from Lloyd’s Register,” said Paul James, Naval Centre of Expertise Manager at Lloyd’s Register.

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