23-Meter Autonomous Hydrographic Survey Vessel Unveiled in US Market

March 28th, 2023

Walker Marine Design announces the introduction of a revolutionary, autonomous hydrographic survey vessel: Merlin. This innovative, 23-meter semi-displacement monohull design was developed in collaboration with Safe Boats, Mythos AI and Echo81.

SAFE Boats International has exclusive rights to build the design at their Tacoma, Washington large-craft production facility. Merlin will be a Jones Act-compliant all-aluminium hull powered by a twin Volvo Penta D13 Hybrid-ready System with IPS. For a zero-emission power package, the Merlin can accommodate forward-thinking hydrogen technology supplied by Zero Emission Industries (ZEI). Both power options offer lower emissions and extended range to perform site assessment surveys at offshore wind energy areas. Three deck levels offer crew and technicians sleeping berths, full bathroom, galley, survey workstation, and a marine mammal observer post on the flybridge. The generous aft working deck is equipped with an A-Frame, dual winches, moonpool, and outboard seismic booms. The hull was specifically designed to incorporate the industry’s most advanced sonars with minimal interference while collecting data at a highly efficient pace. A Seakeeper gyro provides active ride control, greatly enhancing stability and crew comfort. A shallow draft of 1.6m allows the Merlin to perform various survey missions and make port in small or large harbours across the U.S.

Hydrographic systems provider, Echo81, is nationally recognized as a leading expert in the hydrographic survey industry. With their contribution, Merlin is the industry’s first geophysical vessel that can be acquired directly from the builder (SAFE Boats International) with a fully integrated geophysical sensor suite configured specifically for U.S. Offshore Wind. Echo81 will provide a single source for sensor service and support, drastically reducing the cost burdens associated with owning and operating survey vessels.

Mythos AI, a cutting-edge maritime autonomy provider, is responsible for optimising Merlin vessels for autonomous survey operations. Mythos AI’s advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) are designed specifically to automate geophysical workflows so that skilled hydrographers and crew are not required to physically be onboard the vessel. As Mythos AI’s technology advances, it will be capable of providing a push-button, long endurance, dock-to-dock, self-driving and self-surveying solution for offshore wind.

Learn more about this design HERE