UK-based power systems provider Rolls-Royce has signed a deal with Swedish ferry company Stena Line AB to collaborate in the development of its first intelligent awareness system.
“Intelligent awareness systems will make vessels safer, easier and more efficient to operate by providing crew with an enhanced understanding of their vessel’s surroundings,” Rolls-Royce said.
The company added that this would be achieved by fusing data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems, such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radar. Data from other sources, including global databases, will also have a role, the company informed.
“We have been exploring and testing how to combine sensor technologies effectively and affordably for some time. Pilot projects such as this will allow us to see how they can be best adapted to the needs of a commercial vessel and its crew and allow us to develop a product which better serves both,” Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Director Digital & Systems – Marine, said.
“Successful pilots and product development programmes are also an important step towards the further development of remote and autonomous vessels and meeting our goal of having a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade,” Skaro added.
Rolls-Royce said it expects to be able to undertake an Approval of Concept and have its intelligent awareness product commercially available later in 2017.
Earlier in March, the company received an approval for a research grant by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, supporting its aim to make remote and autonomous shipping a reality bu enabling it to invest further in a research and development centre in Turku, Finland.
Rolls-Royce plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centres, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.
The intelligent awareness system will benefit from Rolls-Royce’s experience in the Tekes funded project Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA), which has been running since June 2015.