Autonomous Hydrographic Survey Vessel Unveiled

With zero emission hydrogen propulsion, the Merlin autonomous surface vessel has a shallow draft of 1.6m enabling it to perform various survey missions and make port in small or large harbors across the US By Caroline Rees / 31 Mar 2023
AHSV_Merlin launch
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SAFE Boats International, in collaboration with Mythos AI, Echo81, and World Marine Design, has introduced an innovative, 23-meter semi-displacement monohull autonomous hydrographic survey vessel known as Merlin.

SAFE Boats International has exclusive rights to build the design at its Tacoma, Washington large-craft production facility. 

Merlin will be a Jones Act-compliant all-aluminum hull powered by a twin Volvo Penta D13 Hybrid-ready System with IPS. For a zero-emission power package, the Merlin can accommodate forward-thinking hydrogen technology supplied by Zero Emission Industries (ZEI). Both power options offer lower emissions and extended range to perform site assessment surveys at offshore wind energy areas. 

Designed to operate autonomously or with crew, three deck levels offer sleeping berths, full bathroom, galley, survey workstation, and a marine mammal observer post on the flybridge. The aft working deck is equipped with an A-Frame, dual winches, moonpool, and outboard seismic booms. The hull was specifically designed to incorporate the industry’s most advanced sonars with minimal interference while collecting data at a highly efficient pace. A Seakeeper gyro provides active ride control, greatly enhancing stability. A shallow draft of 1.6m allows the Merlin to perform various survey missions and make port in small or large harbors across the US.

Hydrographic systems provider, Echo81, is nationally recognized as a leading expert in the hydrographic survey industry. With their contribution, Merlin is the industry’s first geophysical vessel that can be acquired directly from the builder (SAFE Boats International) with a fully integrated geophysical sensor suite configured specifically for US Offshore Wind. Echo81 will provide a single source for sensor service and support, drastically reducing the cost burdens associated with owning and operating survey vessels.

Mythos AI, a cutting-edge maritime autonomy provider, is responsible for optimizing Merlin vessels for autonomous survey operations. Mythos AI’s Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) are designed specifically to automate geophysical workflows so that skilled hydrographers and crew are not required to physically be onboard the vessel. As Mythos AI’s technology advances, it will be capable of providing a push-button, long endurance, dock-to-dock, self-driving and self-surveying solution for offshore wind.

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Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact