Peel Ports Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with unmanned and autonomous marine systems provider ASV Global to support the use of autonomous vessel technology across various ports in the UK.

As part of the deal, a team from ASV has visited Peel Ports Group’s Port of Liverpool to demonstrate the autonomous vessel, C-Cat-3, which is suitable for shallow survey operations.

The vessel was deployed at the ports’ Brocklebank Dock to perform a seabed survey using a Norbit iWBMS multibeam echosounder.

Following the successful demonstration, Peel Ports Group plans to explore the possibility of testing the technology at its other sites situated across the UK.

The collaboration will also promote shared learning and address the challenges related to using autonomous vessels within UK ports.

It aims to explore possibilities to undertake collaborative development projects.

“We will facilitate an increased understanding of the benefits of autonomous vessels within port operations.”

Peel Ports group harbour master Gary Doyle said: “Bringing the best-in-class expertise together, we will facilitate an increased understanding of the benefits of autonomous vessels within port operations.

“The industry is already pushing for their commercial use and autonomous vessels are already widely accepted by our customers, especially those in the energy sector.

“This partnership with global leader ASV will cement our commitment to ensuring we are at the forefront of research and the latest cutting-edge technologies, which will provide the best possible service to our customers.”

Apart from Liverpool, Peel Ports is currently engaged in the operations of Clydeport, Dublin, Great Yarmouth, Heysham, and London Medway in the UK.