South Hampshire College Group Acquires Robosys AI-Powered Digital Training Vessel

The new Digital Training Vessel (DTV), powered by Robosys Automation's Voyager AI, will enable students to learn on a real-life, compact uncrewed surface vessel (USV) to support marine engineering, marine electronics, software and digital skills By Joe Macey / 21 Feb 2024
South Hampshire College Group Acquires Robosys AI-Powered Digital Training Vessel
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South Hampshire College Group has acquired a Digital Training Vessel powered by Robosys Voyager Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This will support the demand for new maritime skills across the Solent region, and pan-UK, enabled through capital equipment investment through the Department for Education’s Local Skills Improvement Fund.

South Hampshire College Group’s new Digital Training Vessel (DTV) will be used through remote control operations either in-line-of-sight from ashore using a local wireless controller or from a classroom-based ROC.

As this type of craft is the first choice for surveying, patrolling, monitoring, and more recently, search and rescue operations, training on the Group’s new DTV will enable students to learn on a real-life, compact uncrewed surface vessel (USV) to support marine engineering, marine electronics, software and digital skills. In turn when leaving college they will be better equipped to enter a broad spectrum of fast growing maritime sectors, including offshore wind farm support, hydrography, aquaculture, defense, and marine sciences.

Utilization of the DTV purchase will enable pivotal curriculum developments across a range of technical college qualifications, from Robotics and Automation, T Level Digital Software Programming and Development, Marine Electronics, Marine Electrical, Systems Engineering and Clean Energy.

The DTV will be powered by Voyager AI, maritime artificial intelligence (AI) software both designed and supplied by Robosys Automation. Voyager AI delivers decision-aided autonomous navigation for the USVs and for the onboard vessel control system at various levels of autonomy, including degree 4 autonomy. This will provide students with decision aided autonomous operations and collision avoidance AI reasoning, being crucial when operating in challenging environments such as busy shipping lanes and difficult sea states.

The new SHCG Digital Training Vessel is currently in production in the UK at HydroSurv and is based on their 2.8m Rapid Environmental Assessment Vessel (REAV) USV aluminum catamaran design, which is well-suited to a variety of training operations. The REAV-28 has a Torqeedo electric outboard propulsion system, providing clean energy, supporting NetZero ambitions.

Whilst it can be operated remotely from any site operating Robosys’ fully mobile Ground Control System, the unmanned vessel can be easily relocated for immediate deployment in shallow lakes, swimming pools, or Solent’s waters, being highly suited to training operations.

Funding for the DTV has been enabled through the Department for Education’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) and forms part of wider ambitions to increase capacity in the maritime, Freeport and logistics sectors through the development of industry-lead curriculum, access to state-of-the-art equipment and exposure to the varied and fulfilling careers available in maritime. As part of the investment, the LSIF enables expansion and development of the college’s state-of-the-art facilities and improved access to the technical skills required in the industry, addressing key sector skills shortages regionally.

Naomi Smith, LSIF Programme Director for the South Hampshire College Group, said; “We are delighted to be working with Robosys Automation on this truly innovative and first-of-its-kind partnership for the region. The purchase of the digital Training Vessel marks a significant milestone in our commitment to securing the future skills pipelines for the maritime industry, creating better futures for the region. As technology continues to advance, particularly in autonomy and AI, South Hampshire College Group’s students will be empowered with the cutting-edge knowledge and practical experience required to excel in this swiftly evolving world. Using Robosys’ systems and AI software will enable students to seamlessly convert their learning to the workplace.”

Nigel Lee, CSO of Robosys, commented; “Next generation maritime is at the core of industry, so it is superb to see that we are able to work with and support innovative training providers such as the South Hampshire College Group are helping to address the maritime sector skills shortages for today and the future workplace.”

Naomi continued; “The partnership reflects the Group’s vision to help lead the UK in cutting-edge learning together with decarbonisation ambitions, combined with the pledge to work with global industry innovators such as Robosys Automation, and the National Oceanography Centre, with whom we have been able to develop meaningful partnerships.”

Posted by Joe Macey Connect & Contact