MOL, RR Partner Up in Intelligent Awareness for Ships

Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and UK-based engineering major Rolls-Royce have reached a deal to collaborate in the development of intelligent awareness system (IAS).

The collaboration will be on board 165 metre passenger ferry Sunflower, owned and operated by a subsidiary of MOL. The ferry operates on a 222-nautical mile route between Kobe and Oita via the Akashi Kaikyo, Bisan Seto and Kurushima Straits.

Rolls-Royce informed that the intelligent awareness systems would make vessels safer, easier and more efficient to operate by providing crew with an enhanced understanding of their vessel’s surroundings. This will 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.

“Ferry Sunflower operates in some of the most congested waters in the world and will provide an opportunity to test rigorously Rolls-Royce’s intelligent awareness system,” Kenta Arai, Director at Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, said.

“This is a significant challenge to front-line technology leading to our ultimate goal of autonomous sailing,” Arai added.

Rolls-Royce expects to be able to undertake an Approval of Concept and have its intelligent awareness product commercially available in 2018.

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