Blue Shadow Autonomous Hydrography Vessel

Fugro Autonomous Surface Vessel

Fugro Autonomous Surface Vessel

The Fugro Blue Shadow is a 9-meter long uncrewed surface vessel designed to increase data acquisition efficiency and accelerate hydrographic project schedules while increasing safety. Designed for acquisition of high-quality survey data, it supports safe navigation, sustainable economic development and protection of oceans and coasts.

The vessel’s advanced situational awareness capability is enabled by integrated radar and automatic identification system (AIS) to detect near and far targets for obstacle and collision avoidance during operations. Situational awareness is also achieved by vessel status monitoring sensors and 360-degree cameras ensuring continuous site visibility.

Efficient data acquisition is ensured through dynamic line-planning functionality that enables the Blue Shadow to automatically adjust the survey line spacing and orientation based on the water depth, whilst maintaining the required multibeam echo sounder swath overlap. This provides extensive coverage of the seabed and data that exceeds all national accuracy standards.

Blue Shadow has fully autonomous, semi-autonomous and direct remote-control options. For positioning and navigation it uses differential GPS (DGPS) from Fugro’s G4+ sensor, augmented by Kongsberg’s Seapath 380-R3 gyro, and the Fugro Starfix Suite navigation package. Also onboard, the Kongsberg EM2040-04 Multi Beam Echo Sounder (MBES), the Teledyne Echotrac E20 Mk II Echo sounder, the AML MVP30 sound velocity profiler and Valeport UV-SVP  Sound velocity (at head)

International Maritime Organisation-compliant navigation and signal lights for 24/7 operations combined with back-up positioning systems and an emergency anchor, ensure safe operations and reduces Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) risk. A back up communications system with automatic operational transfer capability allows the Blue Shadow operator to monitor operations and, if required, take control of operations remotely.

With up to a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions, the Blue Shadow lowers the carbon footprint of offshore operations, contributing to a more sustainable future.

The Blue Shadow can operate independently or as a force multiplier alongside a parent vessel. This enables the Blue Shadow to support a range of operations; it can be used to scale and speed up the intensity of data collection in both nearshore and offshore environments.

Key Features

  • Wave-piercing hull design provides a stable configuration for high-quality data acquisition
  • Gondola-mounted sensors enable accurate data acquisition with low acoustic interference
  • Robust aluminum hull with fenders reduces downtime risk
  • Optimized situational awareness achieved through 360-degree camera including infrared, radar, AIS, weather station and vessel status monitoring sensors
  • Advanced vessel control software with obstacle and collision avoidance capabilities
  • Autonomous dynamic line planning capability to increase data acquisition efficiency
  • Force multiplier operations with a parent vessel increases productivity and reduces project schedule
  • Reduced fuel consumption and carbon footprint ensures sustainable operations
  • Launch and recovery system including floating dock and cradle facilitates seamless servicing of the USV on the parent vessel deck when required


  • Fast acquisition of high-quality data and improved project schedule using the force multiplier capability
  • Improved safety through autonomous operations reducing HSSE exposure for offshore personnel
  • Lower operational carbon footprint due to reduced fuel consumption
  • High-quality data ensured through adverse weather conditions due to wave-piercing design