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The Autonomous Vessel - Tomorrow's Vision is Today's Reality

April 12, 2016 16:25

The Rolls-Royce led Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) initiative that NAPA is part of unveiled its vision of remote and autonomous shipping that is quickly becoming a reality.

“One of the core elements of the project, and the one that NAPA’s expertise is required for, is the implementation of real-time remote monitoring and reporting between the vessel and its shore-based office. Whether these vessels of the future operate fully autonomously, partially autonomously with a minimal crew, or are remotely operated from the shore, offices will require an equivalent or better level of reporting to the ones they receive now from crewed vessels”, Jouni Salo, Product Manager – NAPA Shipping Solutions said.

Logbooks, safety monitoring and vessel status awareness are all areas in which NAPA has been pioneering automated monitoring and reporting for a number of years, including the essential real-time awareness for shore-based teams. For example NAPA has developed and brought to market systems such as: 

  • ClassNK-NAPA GREEN - for real time awareness of fuel consumption and vessel efficiency.
  • NAPA Logbook - which digitises and combines deck, engine and oil record logbooks into a consistent and consolidated system on a vessel and fleet-wide basis.
  • Vulnerability monitoring – using onboard sensors it provides real-time safety information and advanced vulnerability status awareness to increase the safety of day-to-day operations.
  • Survivability assessment – in the unlikely event of flooding, it delivers fast and accurate progressive flooding calculations and survivability projections to support life-saving decisions.

These tools are in action now to support safe, efficient, productive and transparent operations, enhancing communications between ship and shore. ESL Shipping Ltd. has just announced its participation in the AAWA project and commenting on the impact these systems can have on existing operations, Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director, ESL Shipping Ltd. said:

“We value the demanding work done onboard vessels. The safety and wellbeing of the officers and crew carrying out this work can be enhanced through the digitalization and automation of routines. Streamlining processes within sea logistics is a must to ensure a productive and modern workplace for both ship and shore based staff. Digitalization and automation mean that shipboard employees can concentrate on operating the vessel and shipping company can concentrate on shipping.”

Pasi Roos, Quality and Safety Manager of FinFerries Ltd., added to discussion: “AAWA Project pushes shipping forward and we are proud of our company and employees to be the forerunners of this technological development. We are looking to assess these novel ideas and products by participating with our vessel STELLA by accommodating a sensor-package for development. ”

At its core, the AAWA project is not about developing new technologies, but rather to explore how best to combine and integrate these technologies to best implement autonomous control of a vessel and manage it effectively. It is not only NAPA that has existing products that service the many needs of autonomous ships. Rolls-Royce, Deltamarin and our other partners confirm that the overwhelming majority of the technology needed for the implementation of autonomous or remote shipping already exists and is beginning to be implemented in the industry.

The project has moved on to an exciting next step in this process. It has now created a simulated autonomous ship control system that will be connected to a satellite communications link, as well as land based systems, allowing the behaviour of the complete communication system to be explored. 

With these two test projects in progress, we are one step closer to the world’s first operational and commercially viable autonomous vessel, and NAPA is proud to be a key part of transforming this vision of the future into today’s reality.

ec mon 1 - with survivability
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