In this project, BMT aims to address the challenge of how traditional manned vessels can co-exist with autonomous systems in shared water space. Deimos Space UK, the British subsidiary of Elecnor Deimos, will investigate how the exploitation of existing and future satellite capabilities can contribute to this objective.

The SWANS (Shared Waterspace Autonomous Navigation by Satellite) project will autonomous behaviour by unmanned surface vessels in areas of congested maritime traffic. 

Phil Thompson, Managing Director at BMT  stated: “Currently, autonomous vessels largely use AIS as a collision avoidance tool but remain at risk of colliding with vessels or objects not using AIS.  Others rely upon waterspace management and the actions of other water users to avoid collisions – neither of which go far enough in reducing the risk of a collision occurring.  This funding is critical in helping us to overcome this barrier by developing the first ever commercially ready, safe over the horizon operating system for congested waterspaces.”

The team conducting the project will concentrate on four key objectives, which are the following:

  • Exploitation of satellite sensing technology and enabling the delivery of a higher fidelity world model for vessel operators/supervisors,
  • Simulation of new scenarios for ASV operations,
  • Combination of ASV Global’s autonomous vessel control simulator and BMT’s REMBRANDT ship manoeuvring simulator into a single suite capable of visualising different datasets in 3D,
  • Evaluation of new multi-vessel conflict scenarios in the real-world. 

“We’re delighted to be continuing our long-standing working relationship with BMT. This project has the potential to open up a multitude of applications for the operation of ASVs in busy waterspaces. It is a follow on from the over the horizon operations we have already carried out with our fleet of ASVs using our advance autonomous navigation system,” Vince Dobbin, Sales and Marketing Director at ASV Global mentioned.