C-Job Naval Architects has revealed its concept design of an Autonomous Underwater Maintenance Dredger (AUMD) in Trondheim, Norway.
The AUMD concept design developed by C-Job’s Research and Development department is specifically created for maintenance in port environments.
This design requires significantly less power compared to a conventional dredger. The AUMD is equipped with a 16MWh battery pack that provides enough power for up to 12 hours of maintenance dredging, the company noted.
Rolph Hijdra, Autonomous Vessels Research Lead at C-Job, said: “When we developed this exciting design, we performed a comparison study with a conventional Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger. This showed that the Autonomous Underwater Maintenance Dredger requires 55% less propulsion power and by submersing the vessel we could reduce the suction head cutting the dredge pump power demand by 80%.”
The submersion of the design also increases operability as it mitigates wave motions as it’s capable to remain submerged throughout the dredging cycle.
Rolph continued: “Autonomous shipping provides enormous potential for ship owners, with both technical design and economic benefits. According to our research, even with a conservative approach, we found that with the AUMD ship owners can expect nearly twice as much profit after 15 years. Though there’s a higher initial investment, operational costs are much lower which makes it an interesting option for companies to consider.”
While the Research and Development team focused on reduced power demand, sustainability, and operability, they also considered other aspects of the design. This includes emergency access which can be obtained through the diver’s lock included in the design.
Tim Vlaar, technical director at C-Job, added: “In order for autonomous vessels like the Autonomous Underwater Maintenance Dredger to become reality more work is needed and requires all stakeholders such as class, port authorities, Autonomous Technology companies and launching customers to come together. Of course, continued development of autonomous vessel designs is also needed to fully explore the possibilities autonomous shipping presents even further.”