Japan-based technology firm Eco Marine Power (EMP) has unveiled the design details of its new Aquarius unmanned surface vessel (USV), marking the start of the construction phase of the programme.
The Aquarius USV prototype will be powered by a solar-electric hybrid marine power solution and integrated with marine computer systems based on the KEI 3240 platform, light-weight flexible marine solar panels and EMP’s EnergySail technology.
The stand-alone version of EMP’s EnergySail technology is expected to increase the vessel’s range and allow for the integration of additional sensors in future.
The USV prototype will also feature a sensor pack, including several EMP-developed unique sensors to collect data from above and below the waterline and on-board batteries that can be re-charged using rapid battery re-charging technology.
The data can either be stored on-board the vessel and/or transmitted back using Wi-Fi, mobile phone or satellite connections to a ship or shore office.
The shallow draft and low height of Aquarius USV will make it suitable for easy operation on urban waterways, rivers, bays and lakes. The flexible masts on the USV can also be lowered for stealth capabilities.
Additionally, the vessel could be used on coastal waters and for sea missions, such as monitoring harbour pollution, oceanographic surveys, maritime park surveillance, coastal border patrols and marine data collection.
The Aquarius USV is currently undergoing lab testing of technologies and a prototype is scheduled to enter into operational tests during 2015.
Image: The solar-powered Aquarius USV. Photo: courtesy of Eco Marine Power.