Renewables-powered Saildrone USV completes maiden voyage
Saildrone’s new uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) Saildrone Surveyor has arrived in Hawaii after completing its maiden voyage from San Francisco to Honolulu.
During the 28-day voyage, the Saildrone Surveyor sailed 2,250 nautical miles and mapped 6,400 square nautical miles of seafloor.
Saildrone stated it will now focus on building a fleet of Surveyors at U.S. shipyards to map Earth’s oceans in the next 10 years.
The 22-meter long USV uses wind and solar energy as its primary power source. It is said to carry a sophisticated array of acoustic instruments, normally carried by large, manned survey ships.
The vehicle is the first in the Surveyor class of USVs, and carries sonar equipment capable of seafloor mapping down to 7,000 metres.
“This successful maiden voyage marks a revolution in our ability to understand our planet,” said Richard Jenkins, Saildrone founder and CEO.
“Offshore survey can now be accomplished without a large ship and crew; this completely changes operational economics for our customers. Based on this achievement, I am excited to apply Saildrone Surveyor technology to other markets normally reserved for large ships, such as homeland security and defense applications.”