South Devon College has acquired two HydroSurv Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs) that will give marine autonomy students at its new Marine Academy hands-on experience of remote vessel operation. The USVs were unveiled at the Academy’s opening ceremony in Dartmouth, UK in April 2022.
The REAV-16 and REAV-10 USVs, named USV Dart and USV Exe, were built by Exeter-based HydroSurv for research collaborations and demonstrations that catalyzed the company’s international growth. HydroSurv has since refitted and upgraded the fully electric, zero emission vessels for use by future students at the Academy, which aims to support industry by delivering a skills pipeline to meet the demands of a rapidly changing maritime sector.
Familiarization with current and future unmanned vessel innovations will be a key element of the college’s planned marine autonomy training, due to be rolled out across multiple learning levels from September 2022.
“The use of USVs in industry is increasing every day and South Devon Marine Academy will be taking a leading role in the development of USV related training, from maintenance and servicing through to in-service operations,” said Paul Singer, Business and Qualification Development Coordinator at South Devon College. “Our new workshops and classrooms are just meters from the River Dart, making them the ideal location from which to deliver this training.”
The use of USVs for commercial operation is creating career options for maritime students that did not previously exist. Marine engineers, for example, need to understand their operation, maintenance and propulsion systems. From a programming, cyber security and civil engineering perspective, digital media professionals will also benefit from an awareness of the technology as it becomes widely adopted for a range of data-collection applications.
“Both USVs were originally developed, tested and demonstrated within industrial research projects. These projects focused on platform design, core technology development and industrial showcasing through a series of real-world demonstrations to end-users, equipment manufacturers and academia,” said David Hull, Founder and CEO of HydroSurv. “Following refit and upgrade, the second life use of these USVs has come full circle to support the seeding of new skills that are in strong demand across the ocean technology space. We’re delighted to be partnering with South Devon College, who are putting future specialist skills into the hands of tomorrow’s workforce, enabling them to take on important, productive jobs in the sector.”