Sea-Kit uncrewed surface vessel installs Inmarsat connectivity network

British satellite telecommunications company, Inmarsat has installed a hybrid continuous connectivity system using virtualised networks for Sea-Kit International uncrewed surface vessel (USV) Maxlimer.

The installation allows the autonomous vessel to switch between Fleet LTE, Global Xpress (GX) and FleetBroadband satellite services when out of range, said to help it to remain connected to the best available network at all times.

The project will support the next phase of Sea-Kit’s ongoing technology trials, which started in September off the coast of Plymouth, UK. Inmarsat says the combination will “set new standards in continuous connectivity to serve a broader range of USV situations.”

In inaccessible areas, USVs can complete tasks faster, more efficiently and with reduced risk to personnel than conventional crewed vessels, says Inmarsat.

“Sea-Kit is delighted to trial seamless switching and to work with Inmarsat to increase data capabilities in developing over-the-horizon control capability, once again pushing the boundaries of our USV design,” says Ashley Skett, operations director, Sea-Kit International.

“We would also like to acknowledge the contributions being made to these trials by our partners Norbit Subsea, iXblue and Genasys Inc.”

“The new trial will be a significant stepping stone for separated networks solutions that ensure reliability, cyber resilience and high data traffic, while selecting bandwidth for the most cost-effective USV operations at all times,” says Scott Middleton, sales director EMEA, AsiaPac Offshore Energy, Inmarsat Maritime. “This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate a new phase in technological development to support the over-the-horizon operation, endurance and ocean-going ability of USVs.”

The integration of multiple technologies into one cohesive solution is based on the same concept as Inmarsat’s communications network of the future ORCHESTRA, as reported in MIN earlier this year.

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