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Official autonomous ship test bed designated in Trondheim

An extensive area of the Trondheimsfjord in Northern Norway has been designated as an official test bed for autonomous shipping by the Norwegian Coastal Authority (NCA).

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Following on from the Norwegian government’s new National Transport Plan, the fjord offshore Trondheim will host projects working on the development of technology that aims to make autonomous shipping a reality.

The area experiences light vessel traffic, making it a safe place to conduct autonomous vehicle trials, and is also home to a maritime technology cluster with several academic and research organisations.

The initiative was established by the Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute (MARINTEK), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Trondheim Port Authority, Kongsberg and Maritime Robotics. Other stakeholders include the Ocean Space Centre, and NTNU’s Center for Autonomous Operations and Services (AMOS).

“As far as we know, there are no such test sites of this kind in the world so the Norwegian Coastal Authorities are taking the lead in a changing maritime world,” said Gard Ueland, president, Kongsberg Seatex.

“We are seeing how autonomy is coming into vehicles on land. I believe we will see some massive changes in the future leading to smart ships that will make maritime transport safer and more efficient. We will also see technology that has the potential to enable fully autonomous cargo vessels. Much of this will come from Trondheim, thanks to the unmatched maritime expertise here and our autonomous vehicles test bed.”

Kongsberg has already been working on autonomous technology trials in the Trondheimsfjord, with its Trondheim-based subsidiary Kongsberg Seatex having tested various new systems in the area in June 2016, together with the NTNU and the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.

Furthermore, the AUTOSEA project, which is focusing on automated situational awareness, will also use Trondheimsfjord as a test site for sensor fusion systems which aim to reduce the risk of collisions between ships and vehicles when increasing levels of autonomy are introduced, leveraging sensor types not normally used for such purposes in the maritime sector such as cameras, infrared and LIDAR.{/mprestriction}

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