First BV Certification Approval for a USV
Bureau Veritas (BV) has delivered Approval in Principle for the innovative iXblue DriX USV, addressing the safety requirements for the marine drone, which operates under the novel concept of remotely supervised autonomy.
The 8m-long DriX is equipped with advanced sensors including a radar, a lidar and cameras, as well as artificial intelligence, enabling it to adapt to its environment, avoid obstacles and carry out missions autonomously. Designed to support hydrographic and geophysical surveys, water column analysis and subsea positioning operations, DriX has been used by major hydrographic institutes and energy companies worldwide.
DriX has been certified by BV for its system architecture, its operational envelope, its construction and its autonomy functions. The NI641 ‘Guidelines for Autonomous Shipping’ provide a framework for thorough analysis of the DriX architecture and its critical functions, in a manner adapted to autonomous marine systems.
This first certification of a USV by BV will help strengthen global acceptance of this technology, by supporting operators in their risk analysis and mission planning for USV deployment. This comes as the USV sector is expanding rapidly, and acceptance of these novel marine drones depends on the capacity to demonstrate they are safe to deploy and operate. BV and iXblue have been working in close collaboration to raise the standards and acceptance of USVs.
Stéphane Vannuffelen, Marine Autonomy Technical Director at iXblue, commented, “We are convinced that the acceptance of autonomous solutions in the marine ecosystem requires a collaborative approach between manufacturers, class societies and authorities, and this work done with BV goes in that direction. This certification is a major achievement not only for DriX, but for the whole maritime industry, supporting its 4.0 transition.”
Laurent Leblanc, SVP of Technical & Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, added, “Smart vessel operations can enable the maritime industry to increase productivity, predictability, and efficiency while reducing operational risk on the water. At BV, we are committed to support innovation with our robust set of standards to enable these new technologies to reach the market and ensure that they are safely implemented.”