The world's first fully automated ferry has been demonstrated by the UK technology giant Rolls-Royce and the Finnish state-owned ferry operator Finferries in the archipelago south of the city of Turku, in Finland..
The 53.8m long doubleended car ferry Falco, 517gt, used a combination of Rolls- Royce Ship Intelligence technologies to sail autonomously on her voyage between Parainen and Nauvo. The return journey was made under remote control.
During the demonstration, the Falco was under fully autonomous control. The ferry detected objects utilising sensor fusion and artificial intelligence and conducted collision avoidance and the ferry also demonstrated automatic berthing with a recently developed autonomous navigation system.
The Falco had been fitted with a range of advanced sensors which allowed a detailed picture to be built of the surroundings in real time. The situational awareness picture was created by fusing sensor data which was relayed to Finferries’ remote operating centre on land some 50km away in Turku city centre.
Here, a captain monitors the autonomous operations and can take control of the vessel if necessary. The Rolls-Royce Autodocking system enables the ship to automatically alter course and speed when approaching the quay and dockwithout any human intervention.