Trade minister praises Portchester business and downplays Brexit fears during visit
A MINSTER has championed a new state-of-the-art marine control centre and called for more investment in the sector.
Mark Garnier MP, minister for international trade, unveiled marine technology business ASV’s new mission control centre at its headquarters in Portchester.
The minister claimed the centre was ‘incredibly innovative’ and that Britain and Portsmouth should be ‘shouting more’ about its marine engineering sector.
Vessels out on the Solent will be able to be controlled unmanned using satellite communication links from the new centre.
It is a similar technology to driverless cars with ASV’s intentions to develop it to potentially be able to control unmanned vessels out in the Atlantic Ocean and further afield.
Mr Garnier told The News: ‘This technology is fascinating and incredibly innovative.
‘People in Britain say we are not making our own stuff anymore but companies like ASV show we are and that we are manufacturing at the highest quality.
‘The technology is groundbreaking and we need to be investing more in it here in Portsmouth and on the south coast, which is the heart of this country’s marine sector.’
Mr Garnier was given a tour of the new ambitious control centre, before inspecting some of the vessels that ASV is working on.
When questioned on whether Brexit would lead to difficulties for the area’s marine sector, he replied: ‘With Brexit, we will be looking to increase our supply chains and we will not have to contend with the constraints that we do now.
‘You hear a lot about driverless cars and about drone technology but people do not realise that there is this kind of innovation going on in the marine sector.
‘We can now market these anywhere in the world and we should go out there and celebrate what we are making in this country.’
Richard Daltry, ASV’s technical director explained that the technology is like a ‘droneboat’ in that the developer is aiming to build vessels that soon will be able to be completely unmanned.
It is hoped the technology would be used in scientific and defence expeditions as they would be less expensive with no crew, less fuel and less supplies needed to carry out missions.
He said: ‘This centre will be instrumental in our continuing developments and will demonstrate our ability to achieve advanced, safe, autonomous operations at sea.’
ASV was given funding to aid the project by Innovate UK – a government agency tasked with allocating funding for innovative projects.
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