Fugro and AD Ports team up to expand remote tech use in Middle East maritime

The Fugro Pegaus unmanned surface vehicle which will be based at Al Mirfa Port in the UAE.

Fugro and AD Ports have joined forces to expand remote and autonomous capabilities of Middle East maritime industry.

Global geo-data specialists Fugro and AD Ports Group have signed a collaborative agreement that sets out combined goals to use remote and autonomous technologies in the Middle East region.

Fugro supports clients in mitigating risk during the design, construction and operation of their assets, both on land and at sea. AD Ports Group is the UAE’s premier logistics, industry and trade facilitator, operating integrated business clusters covering digital, economic cities and free zones, logistics, maritime and ports.

Fugro is leading the development and deployment of remote and autonomous solutions by establishing a global network of remote operations centres and autonomous vehicles that support the maritime industry. By bringing together Fugro’s industry knowledge and AD Ports Group’s expertise, the partnership is set to create a platform to implement remote and autonomous technology and to create guidelines that will ensure the UAE is prepared to benefit from the use of the latest industry advancements.

Whilst the agreement formalises the partnership between Fugro and AD Ports Group, the companies have been working together since March 2022 ahead of the arrival of the region’s first unmanned surface vehicle (USV), the Fugro Pegasus. The USV was recently welcomed into the UAE and will be stationed at Al Mirfa Port, Abu Dhabi.

On signing the agreement with Fugro, Mohamed Al Yahyaei, chief harbour master at AD Ports Group said: “AD Ports Group is committed to innovating and improving its services, deploying advanced technologies and automation across our operations to drive improvements and greater efficiency.

“Through strategic collaborations, AD Ports Group brought the world’s first fully uncrewed autonomous commercial marine tugs, as well as the Middle East’s first terminal with an autonomous port truck system, to the UAE. By signing this new agreement with Fugro, we are expanding the range of remote and autonomous technologies available for the maritime sector, as we strive to build a safer, more sustainable and more impactful future.”

The agreement addresses key areas that Fugro and AD Ports Group will tackle together to make Fugro’s USV technologies a successful addition to the region. These include jointly developing procedures for the use and implementation of USVs in accordance with the requirements of the UAE, to establish an approved remote and autonomous testing site for USVs and to create an industry compliant training programme for Emirati nationals and international mariners, covering the operation of USVs.

David Washbrook, Fugro’s director of marine asset integrity for Middle East and India, said: “The introduction of our USV technology marks an exciting moment for the maritime industry in the region. The support we have received from AD Ports Group has played a large role in making this a reality and we are proud to call Al Mirfa Port the new home of Fugro Pegasus.”

“Automation and the use of remote technologies in the maritime sector can allow vessels and vehicles to operate more efficiently, with greater operational safety and reduce operational costs. In the case of offshore vessels, automation enables vessels to operate safely in adverse weather conditions. Since 75-96% of marine casualties typically result from human error, increased use of automation in the maritime sector also has the potential to increase safety and reduce accidents.”