In line with a growing smart technology trend and as shipping is struggling to keep costs down in order to maintain its competitiveness, as well as to minimize human error to improve its safety record, autonomous ships provide an attractive trend.
MIT’s fleet of robotic boats has been updated with new capabilities to “shapeshift,” by autonomously disconnecting and reassembling into a variety of configurations, to form floating structures in Amsterdam’s many canals. The autonomous boats are being developed as part of the ongoing “Roboat” project between MIT and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.
The Port of Hamburg is currently testing the use of Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV), which can offer a number of advantages for hydrography. ASVs support the conventional sounding work of surveying vessels and can reach areas difficult to access.
China delivered its first smart very large crude carrier (VLCC) in Dalian, on June 22. The VLCC is called ‘New Journey,’ and is the world’s first intelligent VLCC with a loading capacity of 308,000 tons. The vessel was delivered to China Merchants Energy Shipping Company, after successful trials were conducted in May.
A series of tests took place on 19 and 20 March with autonomous operations in the North Sea, about 5 nautical miles from the coast at Den Helder. The SeaZip 3, a Damen Fast Crew Supplier 2610 ‘Twin Ax’ was equipped with intelligent control to avoid collisions and took part in various runs of nautical scenarios to enable interaction of the ship with other shipping traffic.
L3 ASV delivered its long-endurance autonomous vessel ‘C-Enduro’ to the Royal Navy. The autonomous vessel is scheduled to be used for military data gathering trials by the Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability program, as the Navy seeks to exploit autonomous technology.
STM published a video summarizing what has been done until now and what is to happen. Namely, STM aspires to enable a good port call, just-in-time arrival and a fast turnaround. Now STM has set the base and aims to develop in order to help shipping evolve. STM now wants to further develop its services to improve safety, efficiency and situation awareness.
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