The new yellow unmanned vessel at sea

Cutting edge unmanned marine vessel now available for use

News  |  05 March 2020

A cutting edge unmanned marine vessel capable of conducting research off the South West coast is now available for use by Devon-based small and medium sized businesses.

CETUS – a C-Worker 4 unmanned surface vehicle developed and supplied by L3Harris Technologies – has been purchased by the University of Plymouth and will be based at its Coxside Marine Station.

It will enable staff, students and local businesses to conduct innovative marine research within the Smart Sound Plymouth offshore proving area.

The vessel is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the University’s participation in the Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) project.

It joins the University’s substantial fleet of vessels and marine field equipment, and will enhance its reputation as a world-leading centre in the application of autonomous technology to conduct ocean science.

The vessel is named after a figure in Greek mythology, and CETUS is also commonly used as a name or figurehead denoting a ship unafraid of the sea.

It was delivered to the University earlier this month and has since been extensively tested, with technical staff based at the Marine Station also gaining the expertise to best support the business and scientific community.

L3Harris is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned marine systems and its autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) business is based on the UK’s south coast.

Measuring just over 4metres long, and weighing ~680kg, its C-Worker 4 can travel at speeds of up to 7 knots and stay at sea for up to 48 hours. It is specifically designed to complete a variety of offshore and inshore tasks, and has a waterjet propulsion system which makes it an ideal solution for both shallow and deep water surveys.

Mark Exeter, Managing Director, ASV, L3Harris, said:

“The C-Worker 4 will enable businesses, staff and students to test equipment and explore exciting and innovative new technologies. It also establishes Plymouth as one of the leading providers of accessible unmanned technology to a plethora of new users. We were delighted the University of Plymouth selected L3Harris to deliver this unmanned vessel, and in recent months we have worked closely with them to deliver the system.”



Related information

Any Devon businesses interested in finding out more about using the USV CETUS can contact the University of Plymouth Knowledge Exchange Officer Steven Rice at or by calling +44 1752 588301.

View the full news article from the University of Plymouth about the vessel.