The Ice-class passenger ferry Suomenlinna II was remotely piloted through test area near Helsinki harbour. This was the world’s first remote trial for an existing passenger ferry, which aimed to prove that human oversight of vessels remotely is achievable with today’s technologies.
Namely, the partnership between ABB and Helsinki City Transport accomplished an innovation in autonomous shipping. The trial, which is the world’s first for an existing passenger ferry, was successful into testing the improvement of ship operations using technologies that are available for almost any kind of vessel.
The trial occurred when the ferry was off duty, with no passengers on board and no other vessels voyaging in the area. The vessel is run by a set of conventional onboard controls with the remote mode deployed during the trial only.
Suomenlinna II has a specific voyage route from Helsinki to Suomenlinna fortress, the UNESCO World Heritage site on a nearby island. Yet, for the trial it began its journey from Helsinki’s market square, Kauppatori and the captain operated wirelessly through a specific area of Helsinki harbour.
Suomenlinna II was retrofitted with ABB’s positioning system, ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control, and steered from a control center in Helsinki.
Finally, Suomenlinna II, was officially built in 2004. It operates year-round, and manages the weather conditions that affect the rest of the modes of transport in Helsinki.