Specifically, UK MCA is looking to develop and trial the Marine Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), something that will achieve in Portland.
Data collected around marine traffic moments, weather and even sea bed information can then be shared with industry for programming of their autonomous vessels.
Ros Blazejczyk, Project Manager for Solis Marine stated
Portland presents an ideal choice for this test as a well-defined harbour which is big enough for a MASS test area but not so large that data sets for this viability study become unwieldy.
In addition, Tom Owen, MD at Maritrace, noted that Portland is challenging as it has many separate data-sources to manage its port on a day-to-day basis.
There is an interesting challenge involved in harmonising those sources into a single distribution platform, however the quality of those sources and the enthusiasm and cooperation we have received from the Portland Harbour Authority have been incredibly helpful as part of this exciting project.
Dr Katrina Kemp fro the MCA added that the project's goal is to make the UK the world leader in autonomous and smart shipping.
Concluding, in 2017, the UK launched an Industry Code of Practice for the design, construction and operation of autonomous maritime systems, that set best practices on developing and operating autonomous vessels.