Researchers at UAntwerp and the Port of Antwerp are testing how 3D sonar sensors can be used to improve awareness of a ship’s surroundings for autonomous shipping.
tpgroup’s patent pending autonomous navigation system, Northstar, has completed its sea trials programme, demonstrating that it can safely navigate unmanned vessels in real-time and in a real-life environment - without human intervention.
Weathernews has been selected as a member of the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship Project (DFFAS), made up of 22 domestic companies who will collaborate on the Joint Technological Development Programme for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships administered by the Nippon Foundation.
Wärtsilä has joined the Mayflower Autonomous ship project, providing its high-speed, high-resolution FMCW K-Band radar (24GHz) designed to provide high levels of situational awareness in densely populated marine environments.
Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has collaborated with Shin Nihonkai Ferry to co-develop technologies and systems to enable unmanned ship navigation.
Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics has successfully demonstrated its autonomous systems in action onboard a Kvichak Marco skimmer boat during events held along the Portland harbour this week.
Sea Machines’ on-water demonstrations took place onboard the world’s first autonomous spill response vessel. The Vigor/Kvichak Marine Industries-built skimmer boat, owned by Marine Spill Response Corp. (MSRC), performed remote autonomous operations in front of a live audience including those from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), of which Sea Machines has a cooperative agreement with. Government, naval, international, environmental and industry representatives were also present.
From a shoreside location at Portland Yacht Services, a Sea Machines operator commanded the SM300-equipped skimmer boat to perform the following capabilities:
Sea Machines also discussed how to operate the skimmer in an unmanned autonomous mode, which enables operators to respond to spill events 24/7 depending on recovery conditions, even when crews are restricted. These configurations also reduce or eliminate exposure of crewmembers to challenging sea and weather, toxic fumes and other safety hazards.
“Our operation of the world’s first autonomous, remote-commanded spill-response vessel is yet another significant industry first for Sea Machines,” said Michael G. Johnson, founder and CEO, Sea Machines. “But even more important is the fact that we’ve proven that our technology can be applied to the marine spill response industry – as well as other marine sectors – to protect the health and lives of mariners responding to spills. We are proud to support MSRC’s mission of response preparedness and to work alongside MARAD for these important demonstrations.”
“MSRC is excited to work with Sea Machines on this new technology. The safety of our personnel is the most important consideration in any response. Autonomous technology enhances safe operations,” said John Swift, vice president, MSRC.
"This is the future of the maritime industry. It’s safer, it’s faster, it’s more cost-effective,” said Richard Balzano, deputy administrator, MARAD. “This technology is here and it will make you a believer. We are here because we want to help the maritime industry evolve. It’s about safety, the environment and reducing risk on the water.”
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has highlighted the need to consider seafarer training and standards as the use of technology in shipping evolves in the future, and the automation of tasks currently performed by humans continues to grow.
Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) reports that it has completed an assessment and feasibility study on a new navigation support system in conjunction with Japan’s National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), using an NMRI-owned ship handling risk simulator.
Boston-based autonomous vessel technology company Sea Machines Robotics has closed a $10 million fundraising round, bringing the total funding raised by the company to $12.5 million.
The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee’s (MSC) 100th session has been completed, with progress reported by the committee in the Organization’s regulatory scoping exercise on maritime autonomous surface ships.
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