Rolls-Royce autonomous ship research

Mon, 13 July 2015

Rolls-Royce is leading a €6.6m autonomous waterborne applications project that aims to produce the next generation of advanced ship solutions.

The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative, funded by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation), will produce specification and preliminary designs. It will bring together universities, ship designers, equipment manufacturers, and classification societies to explore the economic, social, legal, regulatory and technological factors which need to be addressed to make autonomous ships a reality.

“Rolls-Royce has extensive experience of successfully coordinating multi-disciplinary teams developing complex technologies,” said Esa Jokioinen, head of Blue Ocean Team, Rolls-Royce. “We are excited to be taking the first concrete steps towards making remote controlled and autonomous ship applications a reality.” 

Project partners will look at research carried out to date before exploring 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, using, where possible, established technology for fast commercialisation.

The Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean team is responsible for research and development of future maritime technologies and focuses on disruptive game-changing innovations. By combining new technologies with new approaches to ship design and system integration, the team aims to reduce operational costs, minimise emissions and enhance the earning capability of vessels. The team has developed a range of autonomous ship concepts as well as innovative designs for various ship types. 

The project will run until the end of 2017.

Source: Rachael Doyle;

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