New Launch and Recovery System for Unmanned Craft Proved in Testing on Norway’s West Coast

SOLUS, a new Launch and Recovery system for unmanned craft has been proven in testing that took place on Norway’s West Coast.

  • The SOLUS system is the result of a long and successful collaboration between two of Norway’s most recognizable maritime brands, Vestdavit and H. Henriksen.
  • SOLUS is a cost-effective and compact equipment fit for an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) and can be used with existing Davits.

30.10.2020, Bergen, Norway.
Sea trials conducted by a combined team of engineers from Vestdavit and H. Henriksen have provided proof of concept for SOLUS – a new launch and recovery system that simplifies and enhances Unmanned Surface Vehicle handling. The tests took place on board a Vestland Offshore vessel, whose existing boat and davit system were modified to accommodate SOLUS equipment before the team oversaw repeated Launch and Recovery cycles.

“We were very pleased that the testing proved that SOLUS is an excellent method for the Launch and Recover of USVs following a period of intense development” said Kristian Moss, Technical Supervisor at Vestdavit. “Not only did the equipment prove to be very user-friendly and perform flawlessly, but it was also extremely simple to install on the vessel’s existing infrastructure, taking very little time at all.”
Footage from the test, which is available on Vimeo, shows the full equipment arrangement in action. The vessel’s Fast Rescue Craft stood in for the USV for the purposes of the test and was equipped with a lightweight winch drum set up with dyneema rope and a robust Telescopic Pole. The dyneema rope is eight times lighter than an equivalent steel wire, keeping the total system weight to an absolute minimum. The vessel’s davit system was also modified to take the dyneema rope.

Following the launch of the USV – accomplished by the usual method involving a boat-mounted safety offload hook – recovery is controlled completely by the operator on board the vessel. The USV returns to its station alongside the vessel, at which point the operator activates the telescopic pole extending the dyneema rope to deck level, allowing the operator to catch the rope. The soft links of the rope are then fed into the painter system and the davit respectively, at which point the USV is recovered.
“The footage emphatically demonstrates the capability of the SOLUS system,” said Rolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director of Vestdavit. “I am very proud of the teams at both Vestdavit and H. Henriksen who have pioneered an effective method for USV Launch and Recovery that can be achieved cost-effectively using existing equipment.”

For further information about the SOLUS System please contact Atle Kalve, Innovation & Development Director at Vestdavit, Atle.Kalve@vestdavit.no, +47 90 89 39 39.

Quality remote support via Augmented Reality

As lockdown restrictions re-emerge, Vestdavit is fully ready to offer remote support for the engineers servicing its marine davits, using state of the art augmented reality technology from UBIMAX.

Working with ‘RealWear HMT-1’ head-mounted hardware sent to Vestdavit’s Polish production plant, UBIMAX ‘xAssist’ software has proved itself invaluable in overseeing Factory Acceptance Tests from the firm’s Bergen headquarters.

“We refined things during trials, especially focusing on audio quality when there is background noise: we now use integral headsets,” says  Vestdavit After Sales Director Henric Collvin. “We can confirm that this technology is intuitive for operators and can deliver remote support more easily, saving time and engineer travelling costs. We are ready to use it with a customer, which is especially as travel restrictions are tightening once more worldwide.”

Already, service engineers routinely use mobile phones to video equipment they are working on to show more qualified technicians the challenges they face. AR means that this can happen in real time and hands-free. “The result is better communication and an improved ability to respond on site, but also a collaborative approach that is all about problem-solving,” says Collvin.

If a client requires a small adjustment to one of its boat launch-and-recovery systems, for example, Vestdavit could send the RealWear HMT-1 to the customer with the necessary spare parts. The customer’s in-house engineer could then undertake the maintenance task under supervision from a Vestdavit expert.

“Our engineers have benefited from intense training and many years of service experience. There is no replacement for that, but they also cannot be everywhere at once,” says Collvin. “This new approach means that, even during lockdown, clients can secure authorised service support from professionals highly skilled in problem-solving wherever they need it.”

To date, Vestdavit has taken delivery of three AR headsets, with one in operation in Poland, a second dispatched to its US-based service organisation and the third held at headquarters for future deployment.  “Once this service is established, we certainly envisage investing in more units to match demand,” says Collvin.

For more information, contact: Henric Collvin, After Sales Director, Ph.+47 47 91 15 59, email: henric.collvin@vestdavit.no