Crewless dinghy signs to UK Ship Register for Middle East mission
Row, row, robot boat gently laying pipes
The UK Ship Register signed up its first unmanned vessel on earlier this week.
ASV, an autonomous boat builder based on the Solent, has been sending its ships to work around the world since 2007, but had not needed to register them.
However, in order to assist a new gas pipeline project in Egypt, where local laws state that all ships need to be registered, the company made its application to the Ship Register.
Vince Dobbin, sales and marketing director of ASV Global, said that after "lots of form filling and negotiation" with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Ship Register, they were able to explain why registering the ship was important for the whole unmanned systems industry.
He said that he was "happy to set a milestone which is very important to the maritime industry as a whole".
The newly registered ship, a C-Worker 7, was designed in Portchester, Hampshire, and can be used remotely, but is fully capable of autonomous operation. In Egypt, it will work on "touchdown monitoring", scanning the seabed to make sure pipes are laid safely, and more quickly than could be achieved with a normal ship. ?