FUTURE INNOVATIONS Center of Finland providing expertise in safety and security, Tampere University of Technology and the University of Turku addressing technical research (and business aspects, too), and Abo Akademi of the University of Turku examining legal aspects. Rolls-Royce is responsible for system integration and automation control in AAWA. “Autonomous shipping is the future of the maritime industry,” Mikael Makinen, President, Marine, Rolls Royce is quoted as saying. “As disruptive as the smartphone, the smart ship will revolutionize the landscape of ship design and operations.” Rolls-Royce sees rapid development of autonomous vessels, with the first remotely operated local vessel—with reduced crew and remote operation and support of certain ship function by 2020. It envisions the first remote-controlled unmanned coastal vessel by 2025, remote-controlled oceangoing vessel by 2030 and autonomous unmanned oceangoing ship by 2035. Just last month, Rolls-Royce and VTT Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd entered into a strategic partnership to design, test and validate the first generation of remote and autonomous ships. Rolls-Royce has extensive experience in propulsion, ship’s equipment, electronics, systems integration, and ship design, while VTT’s expertise lies in ship simulation and the development and management of safetycritical and complex systems in demanding environments such as nuclear safety. It combines physical tests such as model and tank testing, with digital technologies, such as data analytics and computer visualization. It will also use field research to incorporate human factors into safe ship design. As a result of working with the Finnish telecommunications sector, VTT has extensive experience of working with 5G mobile phone technology and WiFi mesh networks. VTT has the first 5G test network in Finland. Working with VTT will allow Rolls-Royce to assess the performance of remote and autonomous designs through the use of both traditional model tank tests and digital simulation, allowing the company to develop functional, safe and reliable prototypes. Karno Tenovuo, Rolls-Royce, Vice President Ship Intelligence, says, “This collaboration is a natural continuation of the earlier User Experience for Complex systems (UXUS) project, where we developed totally new bridge and remote control systems for shipping.” VT T Executive Vice President Erja Turunen, says, “Rolls-Royce is a pioneer in remotely controlled and autonomous shipping. Our collaboration strengthens the way we can integrate and leverage VTT’s expertise
in simulation and safety validation, including the industrial Internet of Things, to develop new products and in the future, enable(s) us to develop new solutions for new areas of application as well.”
Unmanned & Autonomous Workboats Tested While much of the talk has centered around autonomous and unmanned vessels for oceangoing applications, the first commercial marine applications might well be in the workboat market, according to Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics. During a joint presentation with Siemens at the International Workboat Show in New Orleans earlier this month, Sea Machines provided a glimpse of unmanned vessel control systems and autonomous navigation systems for towboat, fireboat, survey and research vessel applications. “Other industries are benefitting from autonomy, such as the airline business” says Michael G. Johnson, the Founder & Director of Sea Machines. “There are ways to use these various types of technology to upgrade our industry.” Johnson knows the marine business. A graduate of Texas A&M University, he is a marine engineer and worked at Crowley Maritime and Titan Salvage as a Vice President, before leaving the company to found Sea Machines Robotics. It was at Titan Salvage that Johnson saw the potential to use unmanned vessels to improve the health and safety of on-site workers and the efficiency of operations for deploying boom during the massive Costa Concordia salvage. The idea would be to deploy the oil spill boom by using an unmanned workboat, which would be remotely controlled by an operator onboard a mothership. Additionally, an unmanned workboat also increases safety for workers—since they won’t be exposed to potentially hazardous spills—and operational efficiency, since it does not require workers to be changed out. To remotely pilot vessels, Sea Machines has developed its Remote Command System, called RC NXT that uses Siemens PLC-based wireless control. The operator can use a wireless belt pack controller—which has full manual controls—to pilot a vessel at distances up to 2,000 m. The company has developed a fully autonomous vessel system called DP NXT, which uses vessel-based sensors and proprietary algorithms to give the vessel a degree of selfawareness, enabling it to efficiently self-motor from point-to-point while avoiding active and passive obstacles or collaborate in tandem with another vessel. Both systems can be fit on existing vessels or newbuilds.
Drone On This past year, classification society DNV GL announced that it had completed the first production surveys using a drone. The survey took place on the chemical tanker MV Apollo, owned by Carl Büttner Shipmanagement GmbH, in Bremerhaven, Germany. Two DNV GL surveyors used the drone to inspect 14 tanks over a period of two and a half days. “The advantage of using a drone over conventional staging inside the tank is absolutely clear,” says Jochen Huhn, Mar ine Super intendent and Chief Security Officer, Carl Büttner Shipmanagement GmbH. “Eliminating the risk of damage to the coating from staging means the drone survey is worth it, even before we factor in the time saved by this method.” “The success of the first drone produc tion sur vey per for med by a classification society shows how our investment in developing modern class solutions to benefit our customers is paying off,” says Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO DNV GL – Maritime. The inspec tion of ship tanks and holds can be a costly, time consuming and potentially dangerous operation. The condition of the coating, corrosion, damages, piping, access points, equipment and safety systems all have to be assessed on a regular basis. Using drones to visually check the condition of remote struc tural components has the potential to significantly reduce survey times and staging costs, while at the same time improving safety for the surveyors. Currently, DNV GL is also looking into utilizing drones and other alternative means for inspection of MOUs, both for topside and external structure and for internal t ank inspec tions. A nother ongoing project is to establish a certification service for external drone operators to qualify to per form inspec tion work on classed MOUs.
December 2016 // Marine Log 23