‘Intelligent' awareness for ships

Posted on 29 Jan 2018 and read 424 times
‘Intelligent' awareness for shipsRolls-Royce (www.Rolls-Royce.com) has signed a deal with the Japanese ‘multi-modal transport company’ Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) to collaborate on developing the former’s ‘intelligent awareness system’; they will use the 165m-long passenger ferry Sunflower, which operates on a 222-nautical mile route between Kobe and Oita (via the Akashi Kaikyo, Bisan Seto and Kurushima Straits).

Rolls-Royce’s system will make vessels safer, and both easier and more efficient to operate by giving crew “an enhanced understanding of their vessel’s surroundings”.

This will be achieved by ‘fusing’ data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems — such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radar.

Data from other sources, including global databases, will also have a role.

Kenta Arai, a director of Mitsui OSK Lines (www.mol.co.jp), said: “Sunflower operates in some of the most congested waters in the world; it will provide an opportunity to test Rolls-Royce’s intelligent awareness system rigorously.

"We also expect it to give our crews a more informed view of a vessel’s surroundings in an accessible and user-friendly way. This can give them an enhanced decision support tool, increasing their safety and that of our vessels.

"We believe that on-going development of this technology will lead to our ultimate goal of autonomous sailing.”

Rolls-Royce expects to be able to undertake an Approval of Concept and have its intelligent awareness product commercially available this year.

The system will benefit from its extensive experience in the Tekes-funded (Finnish funding agency for innovation) project Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative, which has been running since June 2015.

The company has been conducting a series of tests of the sensor arrays in a range of operating and climatic conditions on board Finferries’ 65m double-ended ferry Stella, which operates between Korpo and Houtskär in the Archipelago Sea on the south-west coast of Finland.

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