News

Successful remotely operated workboat demonstration

Mon, 03 July 2017

As another key step down the long road to fully autonomous workboats, Rolls-Royce and global towage operator Svitzer have successfully demonstrated what they believe to be the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in Copenhagen harbour.

One of Svitzer´s tugs, the 28m long Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled manoeuvres. From the quay side in Copenhagen harbour the vessel’s captain, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360 degrees, and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ, before docking again.  

The companies have also signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels. The primary systems involved will be autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control centre and communication. 

Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine who witnessed the event said; “It was an honour to be present at what I believe was a world first and a genuinely historic moment for the maritime industry. We’ve been saying for a couple of years that a remotely operated commercial vessel would be in operation by the end of the decade. Thanks to a unique combination of Svitzer’s operational knowledge and our technological expertise, we have made that vision a reality much sooner than we anticipated.”  

The Svitzer Hermod, a Robert Allan ship design, was built in Turkey at the Sanmar yard in 2016. It is equipped with a Rolls-Royce Dynamic Positioning System, which is the key link to the remote controlled system. The vessel is also equipped with a pair of MTU 16V4000 M63 diesel engines from Rolls-Royce, each rated 2000kW at 1800rpm. 

The vessel also features a range of sensors which combine different data inputs using advanced software to give the captain an enhanced understanding of the vessel and its surroundings. The data is transmitted reliably and securely to a Remote Operating Centre (ROC) from where the Captain controls the vessel. 

Throughout the demonstration the vessel had a fully qualified captain and crew on board to ensure safe operation in the event of a system failure. 

Source: Jake Frith

 

 

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