Rolls-Royce is to lead a new 6.6mn euro project that could pave the way for autonomous ships.
Known as the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative, the company said it will produce the specification and preliminary designs for the next generation of advanced ship solutions.
The project is funded by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) and 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.
The project will run until the end of 2017 and will pave the way for solutions to validate the project’s research. The project will combine the expertise of some leading academic researchers and companies, including: Tampere University of Technology, Finland; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd; Åbo Akademi University; Aalto University; the University of Turku; Rolls-Royce, NAPA, Deltamarin, DNV GL and Inmarsat.
Esa Jokioinen, Rolls-Royce, head of Blue Ocean Team, said: “Rolls- Royce has extensive experience of successfully coordinating multidisciplinary 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 technological work stream, which will be led by Rolls-Royce, will study the implications of remote control and autonomy of ships for propulsion, deck machinery and automation and control, using, where possible, established technology for rapid commercialisation.