Thales opens UK autonomous marine centre

The Thales Boat Zero vessel approaches the new facility at Turnchapel for the first time Photo: Shaun Roster Photography The Thales Boat Zero vessel approaches the new facility at Turnchapel for the first time Photo: Shaun Roster Photography
Industry Database

Thales UK has opened a new Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials and Evaluation Centre in Plymouth which aims to change the way autonomous capability is developed over the next decade.

Continuing the long history Turnchapel Wharf has with the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and industry, the centre will provide access to trials areas for the development of cutting-edge maritime autonomous systems.

“The unique waterfront location at Turnchapel Wharf will provide access to shallow and deep-water trials areas for the development of cutting-edge maritime solutions” said Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK.

“Our ambition is to help anchor a vibrant ecosystem in Plymouth for the development of advanced autonomous systems and we are already working with a range of academic and industry partners to make this a reality.”

Centre of expertise

Going forward he said, the centre is also an integral part of a joint programme between the UK and French government to develop the next generation of autonomous mine hunting systems.

Thales said it is committed to investing in digitally transformative maritime technologies including big data, artificial intelligence, digital security and autonomy.

The centre aims to build on Thales’s leadership in autonomous systems and strengthen the position of the UK industry in this emerging market.

Thales has invested £1 million in the facility, with a minimum five-year commitment to developing autonomous systems at the site in Plymouth, with 20 new high-skilled jobs created through its opening.

Local SMEs, partners and suppliers will take part in initiatives at the facility, while local schools will run STEM activities onsite.

The centre will also be available to academia, enabling institutions working in partnership with Thales UK, such as the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre, to take advantage of its facilities.

By Anne-Marie Causer

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