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First autonomous manoeuvring vessel trials held on North Sea

Date
Apr 11, 2019
Reading time
3minutes
The trials are part of the Joint Industry Project Autonomous Shipping, a two-year research & innovation project started in 2017 and focused on autonomous operations of seagoing vessels. “We are proud that our consortium of 17 partners established the first ever autonomous operations with seagoing vessels held at the North Sea”, comments Marnix Krikke, innovation director at Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT) and project leader of the Joint Industry Project: “A total of 11 scenarios were run in which SeaZip 3 interacted with two other vessels, Octans, a training vessel of the Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz and Guardian, an Emergency Towage Vessel operated by The Netherlands Coastguard. These scenarios are the outcome of research by Technical University of Delft, MARIN and TNO. The scenarios were first tested in the MARIN simulator centre in Wageningen and now, last week, in a real-life environment on the North Sea.”

By testing the scenarios on the North Sea, the partners involved were able to show the decision-making process of an autonomous system in ensuring safe sailing and avoiding collisions with other vessels. The autonomous system provided by Robosys Automation, connected to the on-board autopilot and machinery control system, performed the evasive manoeuvres in a safe way. It was concluded that further development of autonomous systems is needed, to cope with complex marine traffic situations in a more efficient way.