Launch of a roadmap for smart and autonomous sea transport systems

Press Release: A new Roadmap for Smart and Autonomous Sea Transport Systems was unveiled at the SMI  Forum in Singapore on October 22nd, by Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs,  Mr. Chee Hong Tat, and the Ambassador of Norway to Singapore, Ms. Anita Nergaard. 

The roadmap has been developed by two leading maritime research institutes in Norway and  Singapore – SINTEF Ocean in Norway and Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore  (TCOMS), with inputs from Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and Singapore Maritime  Institute (SMI), as well as the Research Council of Norway (RCN). The roadmap is one result of the MoU signed between SINTEF Ocean and TCOMS in June 2019. Singapore and Norway, as leading  maritime nations, are in the forefront of developing and adopting new technology needed to keep a  continuous and high focus on our research and development activities to stay ahead. 

Smart ships provide the platform for a myriad of technologies to integrate and make our current  transport systems more intelligent. Autonomous ships give us the possibility to re-imagine and re invent our transport systems. Both are necessary steps towards a future sustainable world-transport  system. 

The roadmap investigates the impacts of Industry 4.0 in the shipping sector in terms of smarter ships  and ports, digital data exchanges, automated processes, autonomous ships, and advanced robotics.  The impacts are linked to ship physics and technical operations, and new work processes, business  models and an innovation ecosystem are positioned into the emerging sea transport systems. 

– International collaboration is essential to further develop, and to successfully implement, smart and  autonomous systems, and we are pleased to establish a committed collaboration with TCOMS in  Singapore in this area, says Dr. Vegar Johansen, president of SINTEF Ocean. 

New business models, new market opportunities and an open innovation ecosystem An important ambition is also to establish an open and international innovation ecosystem supporting  new business models and new market opportunities. Priority research areas are smart ship interaction,  digital interoperability and smart ports. International standards are key elements in a level playing field. 

– Smart and autonomous vessels will be a step-change for the maritime industry, but wide-spread  deployment requires international standardization and agreements, says Ørnulf Rødseth, senior  scientist at SINTEF Ocean and secretary of the International Network for Autonomous Ships. 

Next generation sustainable shipping 

The new agreement extends the existing MoU between Singapore (MPA) and Norway (RCN) on  marine and maritime research and development. This shows the importance of autonomy in the  maritime strategies of Singapore and Norway and reflects the ambition of the two nations to take a  leading role in the development of the next generation of sustainable shipping. 

– Large-scale laboratories will be a crucial factor. Heavy-weather operations, complex manoeuvring  and intricate hardware systems are tested in a controlled environment, then in full scale, says prof.  Chan Eng Soon of TCOMS and Øyvind Hellan of SINTEF Ocean in a common statement. 

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