SEA-KIT one step closer to developing first type-approved USV control system

UK-headquartered SEA-KIT International has launched a proprietary vessel control system (VCS) with the goal of enhancing the capability of its uncrewed surface vessels (USVs).

As part of the development, new autopilot and drive modules have been built into SEA-KIT’s existing, purpose-built remote helm station deemed GSAVI, said to take the company a step closer to developing the first type approved vessel control system for USVs.

The GSAVI VCS uses industry-standard hardware and has already been tested on multiple SEA-KIT vessels now operating on commercial projects offshore.

According to the UK company, GSAVI talks natively to all onboard and remote systems with advanced communications protocols, rapidly processing data onboard to fine-tune and optimize performance, monitor trends and pre-empt potential operational and navigational issues that it can then alert the operator to.

“For vessel efficiency, reliability and to move in line with regulatory demands, we wanted to enhance and develop our tried-and-tested GSAVI system to offer full vessel control that seamlessly integrates with other payloads,” said Peter Walker, Technical Director at SEA-KIT.

“I am genuinely delighted that the team has achieved that. We will continue to develop GSAVI, working closely with industry regulators to ultimately obtain Class Approval, an important milestone not only for SEA-KIT but for the sector as a whole.”

SEA-KIT’s 12-meter X-Class design was the first USV to achieve Lloyd’s Register unmanned marine systems (UMS) certification in 2021. Earlier this year, a SEA-KIT X-Class built for Fugro became the first USV approved by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for operation with an electrical remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in UK waters.

Speaking about recent company news, SEA-KIT announced earlier this month that it had secured funding from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition to design and manufacture a hydrogen-fuelled USV.