Rolls-Royce and global towage operator Svitzer have successfully demonstrated the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in Copenhagen harbour, Denmark. The companies have also signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels, such as autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control centre and communication.
Earlier this year, one of Svitzer´s tugs, the 28m long Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled manoeuvres, RR informed. From the quay side in Copenhagen harbour the vessel’s captain, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ, before docking again.
Kristian Brauner, Chief Technology Officer, Svitzer said: “Disruption through innovation is happening in almost every industry and sector and technology will also be transforming the maritime industry.”
The Svitzer Hermod, a Robert Allan ship design, was built in Turkey at the Sanmar yard in 2016. It is equipped with a Rolls-Royce Dynamic Positioning System, which is the key link to the remote controlled system. The vessel also features a range of sensors, which combine different data inputs using advanced software, to give the captain an enhanced understanding of the remotely operated commercial vessel and its surroundings. The data is transmitted reliably and securely to a Remote Operating Centre (ROC) from where the Captain controls the vessel.
The Remote Operating Centre was designed to redefine the way in which vessels are controlled. Instead of copying existing wheelhouse design the ROC used input from experienced captains to place the different system components in the optimum place to give the master confidence and control. The aim is to create a future proof standard for the control of vessels remotely.
Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine, pointed out that although the industry has been anticipating a remotely operated commercial vessel to be in operation by the end of the decade, the two companies’ cooperation made that vision a reality much sooner.
Lloyd’s Register’s Marine & Offshore Director, Nick Brown, commented: “We are honoured to be working as partners on this ground-breaking project in the industry’s journey to autonomous vessels.”