The maritime minister visited Southampton as he announced more government support to firms carrying out "pioneering" work.

Lord Davies visited Ocean Infinity in Woolston, a firm creating robots that scan the seabed.

He previously visited the city after a Hamble-based company received government funding for green projects.

Daily Echo: Lord Davies visited Ocean Infinity in SouthamptonLord Davies visited Ocean Infinity in Southampton (Image: Ocean Infinity)

The ministerial visit came as the Department of Transport announced an £8 million funding boost to put the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge maritime technology.

The Smart Shipping Acceleration Fund will help to boost studies to develop smart shipping technologies such as AI, robotics, and autonomous vessels.

The firm is one of many who will see government support to carry on their pioneering work to decarbonise shipping and boost the economy.

The announcement comes from the £206m UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (SHOREUK) fund, announced in March 2022.

Daily Echo: Colin Field, Head of Remote Systems at Ocean InfinityColin Field, Head of Remote Systems at Ocean Infinity (Image: Ocean Infinity)

Speaking to the Echo, Colin Field, Head of Remote Systems at Ocean Infinity, said: “This will really help us and companies like us with problems we’re facing."

He added:  “We’ll be looking at new opportunities to use this funding to push forward in AI, remote and autonomous technology and data processing so we can do more things, in a smarter way with fewer people.”

Lord Davies told the Echo: “I have been looking at the engineering side of things and the technology which is absolutely amazing that has been developed here with the fleet of ships that they have all over the world."

He described the work being done as "pioneering" and said this is the kind of technology that the government wants to encourage.

He said: "The government is absolutely committed to making the UK a place to invest in terms of this sort of technology hence the funding we’re putting forward.

“We want to make it the best place in the world in terms of the technology itself and people involved with it.”