Rolls-Royce's strategic partners will be the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and Tampere University of Technology (TUT), together with numerous SMEs and start-ups specialising in novel technologies.

Remotely controlled and autonomous ships represent a fundamental change in shipping over the next decade and are driving the digital transformation in the sector.

"Finland is the home of top ICT expertise and a strong maritime cluster. That is why Rolls-Royce has decided to establish the centre in Turku", says SVP Sauli Eloranta of Rolls-Royce.

Rolls Royce's Centre of Excellence for autonomous shipping collaborates with the Autonomous Shipping Alliance, an ecosystem bringing together global forerunners and agile ICT start-ups. The aim of the Alliance is to provide the world's first autonomous maritime products, services and a flourishing ecosystem by 2025. Rolls Royce is already a partner in the Alliance.

The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) is committed to funding the work of the Alliance, its ambitious research and development projects, and its innovations in order to achieve the aim of remotely operated and autonomous shipping in the forthcoming years. An example of an amazing, recently funded joint project is 'DIMECC Design for Value (D4V)', which had the objective of understanding and exploiting the opportunities of digital disruption in maritime logistics value chains.

“By combining our world leading capability and knowledge, with a clear plan of where we need to go next, we can work with our customers, governments and our global academic research network to develop and bring to market the advanced technology, products and supporting services needed both ‘on-vessel’ and ‘on-shore’ to make our vision of future remote and autonomous ships a reality” noted Rolls-Royce President – Marine, Mikael Mäkinen.

Rolls Royce's decision to focus autonomous shipping R&D in Finland is motivating Tekes to increase its investments in enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence and communication technologies, and companies that create leading knowhow and synergies with autonomous shipping.

"Remotely operated and autonomous shipping projects provide unique opportunities to develop pioneering solutions alongside lead users", says Piia Moilanen, Program Manager of the Tekes Arctic Seas programme.

"The maritime industry is inherently international. It is therefore natural that the ecosystem around the research and development centre is international too. We welcome all innovators to collaborate with us. We have outstanding platforms here" says Ecosystem Lead, DIMECC Ltd, Päivi Haikkola of the Autonomous Shipping Alliance.