Lloyd's Register (LR) has launched a new goal-based code that is designed to help undertake a structured approach to the assessment of unmanned marine systems (UMS) against a set of safety and operational performance requirements.

The new LR Unmanned Marine Systems Code offers processes that will also certify the safe design, build and maintenance of UMS against an established framework.

It is also intend to reduce the effort required by an owner or operator to achieve certification, and will be written in accordance with Flag States, local regulators and other parties.

The code will initially be used to certify small, non-conventional-sized UMS and naval systems, with plans in place to extend its application to larger and more complex vessels in the future.

Lloyd's Register marine and offshore technical director Tim Kent said: “The code provides a unique and valuable method of providing an assurance process for the safe design of unmanned marine systems in what is a rapidly developing area of the industry.

"The code complements our existing work on cyber-enabled ships and is also intended to support any future regulatory development by the IMO or national bodies."

“It allows for the certification of novel and emerging technologies against a structured framework, and is scalable according to the risk profile and autonomy of the systems, from the very small or simple to the very large or complex.

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“It complements our existing work on cyber-enabled ships and is also intended to support any future regulatory development by the IMO or national bodies.”

LR further noted that its new UMS certification code will help boost innovation by outlining various requirements, which operators will have to demonstrate compliance with via a tailored combination of standards.

A hazard analysis of UMS design and operation has also been undertaken as part of the code's development.

Existing commercial and naval regulatory requirements such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Naval Ship Code were also taken into consideration during the creation of the LR Unmanned Marine Systems Code.