Fukuoka: It’s been just over a year since Maritime CEO last caught up with Greg Atkinson, the founder of Japan-based Eco Marine Power and he’s been rather busy in the interim.
As its name suggests Eco Marine Power develops fuel saving and emission reduction solutions for ships.
This week Eco Marine Power revealed details of its Aquarius Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) and announced that it will begin work related to the construction of a prototype. The Aquarius USV is being developed as a cost-effective unmanned surface vessel (USV) and will incorporate a number of technologies from Eco Marine Power and its strategic partners. These technologies include marine computer systems and lightweight flexible marine solar panels.
The Aquarius USV will be powered by a solar-electric hybrid marine power solution which will also feature a solar panel array designed by EMP. On-board batteries will be re-charged via the solar-panel array or via ship or shore power using rapid battery re-charging technology.
The vessels computer systems will be based upon the KEI 3240 platform – this flexible marine computer system architecture has proven itself to be reliable on hundreds of vessels ranging from tugboats to ocean going bulk ore carriers and tankers.
The Aquarius USV will also be fitted with a sensor pack including several unique sensors developed by EMP. These sensors will be able to collect data from above and below the waterline. The collected data could then either be stored on-board the vessel and/or transmitted back to a ship or shore office. Data transmission will be possible via Wi-Fi, mobile phone or satellite connections.
The Aquarius USV’s shallow draft and low height will allow it to operate on urban waterways, rivers, bays and lakes in addition to being suitable for coastal waters and missions at sea. If needed, the masts can also be lowered to give the vessel a stealth capability.
Typical missions for the Aquarius USV could include monitoring harbour pollution, oceanographic surveys, maritime park surveillance, coastal border patrols and marine data collection.
A variation of the Aquarius USV will include a stand-alone version of Eco Marine Power’s unique EnergySail technology in order to extend the vessel’s range and allow for additional sensors to be fitted.
Lab testing of technologies to be used for the Aquarius USV has already commenced and a prototype is scheduled to commence operational tests during 2015.
“The Aquarius USV project is now aligned with our other main development projects since we have moved towards using a common system platform for many of our solutions,” Atkinson, who hails from Australia, tells Maritime CEO.
Excitingly for readers, he says some of the sensors and technologies used on the USV will also find their way onto larger ships in the years ahead.
Before forming Eco Marine Power in July 2010 Atkinson spent 12 years in the telecommunications industry, where he held senior management roles for a number of major multinational companies in Australia and Japan. Prior to his career in the telecommunications sector, he served 10 years in the Royal Australian Navy in electronics engineering. [29/05/14]