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Maritime and robotics technology specialist Exail announced on 5 June 2024 that it has conducted the first sea trials and demonstration of its new transoceanic DriX O-16 uncrewed surface vessel (USV).

The DriX O-16 was first put to sea on 29 May 2024 out of its home port of La Ciatat in the south of France and underwent a first series of sea trials. Then, on 5 June, it was was demonstrated to high-profile customers and partners, including major worldwide hydrographic institutes and navies.

Twice the length and five times the displacement of Exail’s legacy DriX H-8 USV, the DriX O-16 is designed for long-duration operations of up to 30 days, during which it could potentially travel up to 3,500 n miles. Its larger size allows for a wide range of payloads and subsea assets, including multibeam echosounders, sub-bottom profilers, and acoustic subsea positioning and communication systems. Additionally, the USV features a launch and recovery system to deploy remotely operated towed vehicles, inspection-class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The new transoceanic USV is particularly suited for full-ocean-depth scientific and hydrographic surveys, geophysical and unexploded ordnance surveys and subsea infrastructure inspections that could require the deployment of multiple robotic systems.

“We are very proud to have demonstrated to our clients, in such a short time, our capacity to deliver a new fully functional USV that meets the demand for larger capacity, endurance and multi-mission capabilities while maintaining high reliability and efficiency at sea,” Sébastien Grall, director of maritime autonomy solutions at Exail, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “We are convinced that platforms such as DriX O-16 will support the marine industry’s transition to more reliable and efficient autonomous operations.”

Exail’s DriX O-16 USV, which is twice the length and five times the displacement of the company’s legacy DriX H-8, has now been trialled at sea and shown to potential clients. (Photo: Exail)