Iridium Communications Inc. announced the signing of a letter of intent with Rolls-Royce Marine (RRM), in support of its autonomous vessel development program. Through this arrangement, RRM and Iridium will collaborate to explore incorporating Iridium's next-generation L-band satellite broadband service, Iridium Certus, into the RRM suite of Ship Intelligence solutions. By doing so, RRM will have a resilient and reliable broadband capability that can serve as a standalone option or high throughput backup, while expanding the reach of autonomous vessels to all the world's waterways.

RRM's autonomous vessel solutions are designed to deliver multifaceted enhancements to ships, enabling remote diagnostics, operations, and performance monitoring capabilities. These solutions provide remote access to onshore operators and control centers, delivering real-time connectivity and automation.

"When evaluating partners for our remote and autonomous vessel development program and Ship Intelligence solutions, Iridium is complementing our connectivity strategy for a number of reasons," said Kenneth Solberg, Technical Product Manager, Ship Intelligence, Rolls-Royce Marine. "Their new interconnected Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network is able to provide global coverage with low latencies for both coastal and oceangoing vessels, while at the same time having the robustness of the L-band. And being an actor with truly global coverage, including polar regions, vessel owners will have the confidence that wherever they sail their ship, it will stay connected. The small form-factor antennas and terminals enabled by Iridium Certus have no moving parts, reducing the risk of breakdowns, and are built to withstand the harsh conditions at sea. The journey of enabling Iridium Certus to be compliant with RR remote and autonomous operational requirements sets the stage for an exciting offering that we look forward to begin exploring."

Iridium's network is comprised of 66 crosslinked LEO satellites that blanket the entire planet with reliable satellite connectivity. The Iridium network enables a portfolio of maritime applications, including voice and data communications.