Automation is affecting the different modes of transport. As with maritime or road transport, technological developments about automated navigation come under scrutiny by the inland navigation sector.


National and international inland navigation research projects, such as LAESSI, RAVEN or NOVIMAR are trying to innovate by establishing more automated navigation. Beyond evaluating the technical capabilities and associated advantages/disadvantages, these projects should enable actual experience to be acquired.

With automated navigation also being developed in the maritime sector, the specific requirements of inland navigation also need to be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Crew composition;
  • Navigation in enclosed and confined surroundings;
  • Passage through locks;
  • Water depth and bridge clearances;
  • Vessel manoeuvrability.

The following table describes the definition set by CCNR:

automation definition

Credit: CCNR

Unlike other modes of transport, inland navigation does not have any international definition with the aim of establishing a clear key to understanding the different levels of automation, within which the trialling of different levels of automation could continue. In this respect, the objective of resolution 2018-II-16 is to define the levels of automation of the complex systems used in inland navigation.

This definition enables us to arrive at a clear understanding of automated navigation as a whole and, subsequently, to assess the need to adopt regulatory measures in a differentiated way, based on a common approach

CCNR said.