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Friday, 18 September 2020 15:58

Mayflower Autonomous Ship launches

Ocean research non-profit ProMare and IBM have announced the completion and launch of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) – an AI and solar powered marine research vessel which will traverse oceans gathering vital environmental data.

Lloyd's Register (LR) and the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have teamed up to collaborate on marine autonomy projects to ensure that appropriate levels of service and competence can be achieved within the maritime industry.

As part of the framework agreement, the two organisations will collectively establish and enhance the current body of knowledge for marine autonomy. This combination of skills, expertise and experience will be built on to bring clarity to the requirements for the assurance of autonomy and assist stakeholders in realising the potential of these systems in the market.

This will allow standards to be set and consistently applied and will therefore bring surety to risk management and certification for autonomous and unmanned systems and vessels.

By partnering with NPL, LR will enhance the delivery of its services and assurance in marine autonomy and gain access to a wide range of knowledge and expertise developed in other aligned domains.

LR and NPL are currently working together to deliver a scope of services to the THEMIS Project, to demonstrate the feasibility for the world’s largest ocean-going autonomous vessel, which is part funded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) fund.

NPL’s head of Digital, Neil Stansfield, said: “The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is excited by the opportunities presented in this collaboration with Lloyd’s Register, where the two organisations complementary capabilities are well suited to addressing the challenge of assuring marine autonomous systems. This work represents an important part of the UK’s national programme to deliver confidence in the intelligent and effective use of data, which is being conducted with a range of partners across sectors and with a specific focus on autonomous systems. NPL is applying a combination of measurement skills, expertise and experience, in areas as diverse as sensor characterisation, data quality and AI validation, to support partners in the development of new tests, standards and regulations for the safety of autonomous systems. This collaboration with Lloyd’s Register will help ensure the UK maintains its global leadership in the marine services Sector, where the autonomous shipping sector is expected to represent a global $52bn market opportunity by 2050.”

Tim Kent, LR technical director for Marine and Offshore said: “This collaboration with the NPL will allow LR to improve our own processes, knowledge and competency to better support our clients with marine autonomy projects. We are delighted to be partnering with NPL given its domain knowledge on autonomy from the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) domains.”

Representatives from China, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, and Singapore have launched the MASSPorts initiative to collaborate on and develop Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) in ports.

Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics has closed a new $15 million financing round with significant participation by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services.

By Mr. Dana A. Goward, president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation.

A year-long study sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA) says that the United Kingdom (UK) should create a “hybrid system” of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) capability to ensure uninterrupted maritime commerce and protect its critical infrastructure. The 1,174 page report concludes that a combination of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), eLoran, and the short range R-mode VDES, is needed for maritime navigation. These would also benefit other critical national infrastructures. It also recommends local positioning systems such as LOCATA for port operations.

The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has announced the launch of a joint working group to develop self-driving ships by 2025. The project has been given a budget of KRW 160 billion (132m USD).

Wärtsilä has joined the Mayflower Autonomous ship project, providing its high-speed, high-resolution FMCW K-Band radar (24GHz) designed to provide high levels of situational awareness in densely populated marine environments.

DP World, UAE Region, and the autonomous vehicle, robotics and AI specialist DGWorld have entered a contractual agreement to equip Jebel Ali Port with a fleet of Autonomous Internal Terminal Vehicles (AITVs), including all related integrations in the existing operation processes and infrastructures.

An autonomous drone inspection has successfully taken place onboard a 19.4 metre high oil tank onboard a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel.

A project to demonstrate how autonomous ships and automation in ports can make waterborne transport more flexible and reduce environmental impact has received EUR 7.5 million from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

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