Wärtsilä Voyage, part of the technology group Wärtsilä, unveiled its new demonstrator and innovation vessel, AHTI, at SMM in Hamburg, Germany. With AHTI, Wärtsilä Voyage has created a seaborne environment where customers can test Wärtsilä Voyage’s own technologies, as well as its technology partners’ solutions. These trials will be conducted in changeable real-life sea conditions which can be difficult and costly to recreate in a laboratory environment.
n its previous life, AHTI served as a German Government fishery patroller. AHTI was chosen as a target for retrofit technology installations to prove what is already technologically possible for the current fleet, and to create a platform for further innovation and development.
The creation of a floating R&D facility also helps Wärtsilä Voyage to cut down the cost and time barriers associated with real-life tests, returning meaningful results on a much lower risk and cost base than going into full-scale testing directly. AHTI also creates a first-party resource where customers and technology partners can collaborate.
Speaking on the unveiling of AHTI, Hendrik Bußhoff, Head of Product – Autonomous Systems, Wärtsilä Voyage, said: “Technology designed to solve the industry’s biggest challenges must be tested in situations that come as close as possible to real life scenarios. However, we understand that real world testing is costly and time consuming. Trialling new equipment almost always means testing it on a customer ship which can often bring with it a lot of obligations and questions about documentation, schedules, data ownership and compliance.
This is why we invested in AHTI. We now have a resource that will shorten time-to-market, enable us to fail fast and innovate quicker, and compare and understand different technologies outside of controlled environments.
Sean Fernback, President, Wärtsilä Voyage commented: “In the last few years, the maritime industry has recognised the benefits of digitalisation, and how it can help organisations tackle the very biggest challenges that the sector faces. AHTI provides a powerful tool for testing the capabilities and benefits of a tech-enabled vessel and provides us with an environment in which we can see the future, today, on our terms.
With AHTI, we look forward to working more closely with our customers and technology partners, as well as regulators, to shape the future of maritime, enabling us to move forward as an industry at pace.