UAE firm Marakeb Technologies has enabled autonomous function on a 5-metre surface vessel for Unique Group. It equipped the vessel using its patented MAP Pro device.
Not to be confused with remote control, which involves live steering of a boat from a distance, autonomous operations involve programming routes and instructions for the vessel to navigate a certain scenario on its own, including a path layout, programmable speeds, obstacle warnings, failsafe protocols and live data relay from all sensors on the vessel back to a ground control station.
“Unique Group’s Uni-Cat, equipped with the MAP Pro Autonomy System, allows for autonomous hydrographic survey operations utilising various payloads suitable for search and recovery, oceanography and monitoring as well as inspection surveys," said chief of engineering for Marakeb, Bud Peppe.
"Providing autonomous services and technologies to companies such as Unique Group are exactly why we developed the MAP Pro," he continued. "Whether the client has a vessel currently in their inventory or wants to design their own purpose-built USV, the MAP Pro System’s ease of installation, integration and configuration make it ideal for implementing into a customer’s platform at any time during the project timeline."
The vessel and system are a kit-of-parts that are easy to disassemble and transport for reassembly and operation in different locations around the GCC. Furthermore, the long-lasting battery capacity along with its autonomous capabilities allow for uninterrupted work shifts resulting in efficient and low cost operations.
“Our extensive global experience over the past 25 years as an integrated offshore & subsea solutions provider, has uniquely positioned us to deliver products and solutions in line with customer expectations," said Venkatesh Rao, regional vice president for the Middle East at Unique Group. "The ease of mobility is a major highlight of our USV – “Uni-Cat” - the 16 foot [5-metre] Cataraft platform is designed to provide convenient operability in areas which are difficult to access otherwise. The ability to customize the payload by mounting different sonars & ancillary sensors as required is definitely of key interest for our customers."
He also adds “This is certainly a turning point for us as we’re looking to venture further into the development of customized autonomous vehicles over the years ahead."