Autonomous Shipping Project Welcomes New Members

ESL Shipping, Finferries and Brighthouse Intelligence have joined the consortium studying Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA).

AAWA is a Rolls Royce-led, €6.6 million project that aims to produce specifications and preliminary designs for the next generation of advanced ship solutions and autonomous vessels.

The consortium, which includes Inmarsat, Deltamarin, NAPA, DNV GL and five universities, presented the results of the project to stakeholders, potential customers and media this week following its first year of research.

Finferries’ role in the project is to host a test of advanced sensor equipment, including visual and thermal cameras, LIDAR and radar, to its ferry Stella, to enhance mariners’ situational awareness for navigational safety.  Simulation testing of the control algorithms for various degrees of autonomous operation will also take place and a simulated autonomous ship control system that is already developed will be harnessed to the latest generation of global satellite communications systems.

ESL Shipping will concentrate on exploring the implications of remote control and automation technologies for the short sea cargo sector, while Brighthouse Shipping will develop cybersecurity solutions and its situational awareness packages, which will act as a pre-requisite for autonomous ships.

With increasing interest in autonomous ships and remote control, ESL Shipping hopes that its research within the AAWA project will enable the company to gain early insights into how such developments will transform the industry and the people who work within it.

The consortium has said that proof of concepts should be developed by 2018, including a demonstrator vessel that employs remote control and partial autonomy.  At the moment it is in the early stages of defining solutions across the technology, safety & security, social & legal acceptance, and business model sectors.

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