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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

New US$1.3M autonomous vessel testing centre opens

Thu 11 Oct 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

New US$1.3M autonomous vessel testing centre opens
Thales has built the Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials and Evaluation Centre at Turnchapel Wharf in Plymouth

A new centre in the UK has been opened following £1.0M (US$1.3M) of investment to trial marine autonomous systems.

Thales opened its Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials and Evaluation Centre at Turnchapel Wharf in Plymouth to develop and test autonomous vessels for defence and commercial sectors.

It said the centre will “change the way autonomous capability is developed over the next decade by enabling rapid exploration and exploitation of emergent and disruptive technologies.”

This centre will be an integral part of a joint programme between the UK and French governments to develop the next generation of autonomous mine hunting systems.

“Turnchapel Wharf will provide access to shallow and deepwater trials areas for the development of cutting edge maritime solutions,” said Thales chief executive Victor Chavez. “We are working with a range of academic and industry partners to make this a reality.”

It will be available to academia, enabling institutions working in partnership with Thales UK to test autonomous vessel technology.

Thales UK works with the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre. It will also work closely with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency for technology certification.

Turnchapel Wharf has rapid access to the sea to increase trial time by decreasing transit. It enables Thales to plan trials around differing sea conditions and water depths. It also enables derisking trials, cyber vulnerability testing and marine assurance testing.

Thales has developed satellite communications antennas for Iridium Certus L-band services.

Thales has also teamed up with ScottishPower Renewables to test a pioneering new radar system that aims to safeguard the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry.

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