The project was under the development stages for two years, with Bastø Fosen, Kongsberg Maritime and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate as involved parties.
Project Manager Svein David Medhaug, who was present as representative of the Maritime Directorate, and had been looking forward to the first commercial test trip, commented that their priority is the safety of the passengers, crew, ships and environment.
I would like to emphasize that this is a support system and that it should not in any way replace the crew on board at this time. Instead, it provides the opportunity to optimize your re operation of the ship when it comes to safety and efficiency
... Medhaug added.
The fully-integrated digital system on Bastø Fosen VI automatically performs all docking and crossing functions to a high and repeatable level of accuracy, ensuring that best practice is followed to the smallest detail on every transit.
The result is more exact timekeeping and improved customer satisfaction. During trials in December, Bastø Fosen VI consistently arrived within two seconds of the scheduled time.
The vessel will be also fitted with an anti-collision system, comprising radar and electro-optical sensors, as Kongsberg informs. The system will be tested by fall; However, the crew will remain on the bridge even as the level of autonomy rises. To maintain maneuvering skills, Bastø Fosen will require its staff to perform manual transits on a regular basis.
Øyvind Lund, CEO of Bastø Fosen AS noted that
Today, at the press of a button, one of our vessels left the quay in Horten, crossed the Oslo fjord and docked in Moss, all completely automatically.
Moreover, the autonomous vessel will not be noticeable by the passengers, except that the time of arrival and departure will be even more accurate.
Captain Kristian Larsen says that the new system now allows him to monitor the crossing in a completely different way than before. And he doesn't fear that one day in the future, automation will take away his job.
Bastø Fosen is now entering a six-month trial period where the automatic system will operate most services, but the captain will be responsible and the bridge fully manned. If other vessels or objects are detected, an alarm will be triggered and the captain will take control.