Keppel autonomous tug is a Singapore first

automation development Various technologies will be developed as part of the autonomous tug project. Credit: Pixabay

Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M) is developing an autonomous tug through its subsidiary Keppel Singmarine Pte Ltd (Keppel Singmarine), with the expectation that it will be one of Singapore's first autonomous vessels when completed in 2020.

The project will involve modifying a 65MT tug by retrofitting advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, as well as collision detection and avoidance. An onshore command centre will also be set up to remotely control the tug, due to be operated by Keppel Smit Towage.

Chris Ong, CEO of Keppel O&M, said: "We are proud to be at the forefront of innovation with the development of autonomous tugs that are commercially viable.”

System integrator role

As part of the project, Keppel O&M, through its technology arm, Keppel Marine and Deepwater Technology (KMDTech), will work with Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and TCOMS to develop various technologies and be the system integrator for the autonomous solutions. These technologies include a Digital Twin of the tug to simulate vessel behaviour in multiple scenarios and optimise vessel operations, as well as data analytics tools to improve the control and response of the tug.

Keppel O&M has secured a project grant of up to USS$2m from the MPA, under its Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund (MINT FUND).

In April 2018, Keppel O&M, MPA and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS) signed an MOU to jointly develop autonomous vessels for various applications, including undertaking harbour operations such as channelling, berthing, mooring and towing operations.

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