Rolls-Royce in autonomous ship project

06 Jul 2015

Rolls-Royce is to participate in a €6.6 million research project to develop ship technologies that could pave the way for autonomous vessels.

Funded by Finnish technology and innovation agency Tekes, the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications initiative aims to produce specifications and preliminary designs for advanced ship solutions. The project will bring together universities, ship designers, equipment manufacturers and classification societies.

The project will run until the end of 2017. Previous research in the field will be examined before a study of the business case for autonomous applications, the safety and security implications of designing and operating remotely operated ships, the legal and regulatory implications and the existence and readiness of a supplier network able to deliver commercially applicable products in the short to medium term.

The technological work stream, which will be led by Rolls-Royce, will encompass the implications of  remote control and autonomy of ships for propulsion, deck machinery and automation and control. Where possible, established technology will be used to allow for rapid commercialisation.

Esa Jokioinen, head of Rolls-Royce’s Blue Ocean Team, said: “Rolls-Royce has extensive experience of successfully coordinating multi-disciplinary teams developing complex technologies. We bring a world leading range of capabilities in the marine market to the project including vessel design, the integration of complex systems and the supply and support of power and propulsion equipment. We are excited to be taking the first concrete steps towards making remote controlled and autonomous ship applications a reality.”

The initiative will pave the way for solutions designed to validate the project’s research, combining the expertise of some of academic researchers from Tampere University of Technology; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Åbo Akademi University; Aalto University; the University of Turku; and leading members of the maritime cluster including Rolls-Royce, NAPA, Deltamarin, DNV GL and Inmarsat.

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