Rolls-Royce: The Era of Autonomous Ships Is Here and Now

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The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA), led by UK-based developer and producer of marine engines Rolls-Royce, has released a whitepaper which outlines the project’s vision of how remote and autonomous shipping will become a reality.

The AAWA whitepaper explores the research carried out to date on the business case for autonomous applications, the safety and security implications of designing and operating remotely operated ships, the legal and regulatory dimensions and the existence and readiness of a supplier network to deliver commercially applicable products in the short to medium term.

“This is happening. It’s not if, it’s when. The technologies needed to make remote and autonomous ships a reality exist,” Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce, Vice President of Innovation – Marine, said at the Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium 2016 in Amsterdam.

“The AAWA project is testing sensor arrays in a range of operating and climatic conditions in Finland and has created a simulated autonomous ship control system which allows the behaviour of the complete communication system to be explored. We will see a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade.” Levander added.

The tests of sensor arrays are being carried out aboard Finferries 65 metre double ended ferry, the Stella, which operates between Korpo and Houtskär, while ESL Shipping Ltd is helping explore the implications of remote and autonomous ships for the short sea cargo sector.

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Image Courtesy: Rolls-Royce

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