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A new industry group calling itself the Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance has been officially launched in Shanghai, featuring maritime industry partners including class organisations, shipyards, equipment manufacturers and designers aiming to advance the development of autonomous shipping.

Rolls-Royce, The Norwegian University of Technology Science (NTNU), research organisation SINTEF Ocean, and classification society DNV GL have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create an open source digital platform for use in the development of new ships, capable of creating a vessel’s ‘digital twin’.

Rolls-Royce and towage operator Svitzer have successfully demonstrated what they claim to be the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in Copenhagen harbour, Denmark.

Rolls-Royce has launched the next generation of its Energy Management (EM) System, a data-driven performance management platform which collects and processes data from a multitude of sensors on the vessel to monitor the performance of an individual vessel or a fleet.

Nor Lines and Rolls-Royce have signed a novel ‘Power-by-the-Hour’ service agreement for the two vessels Kvitbjørn and Kvitnos, which will use Big Data technologies to monitor, plan and perform maintenance and repairs on all the equipment installed on the cargo ships.

Rolls-Royce reports that it has signed a deal with Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven to supply its automatic crossing system for two new double-ended plug-in battery-hybrid ferries being built for Norwegian ferry company FosenNamsos Sjø.

Rolls-Royce has signed three new Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with separate organisations in Europe and in Singapore, as it continues its quest to develop autonomous vessel technologies.

Rolls-Royce has signed a deal with Swedish ferry company Stena Line to collaborate in the development of its first intelligent awareness system, fusing data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems like AIS and radar, as well as data from global databases.

Rolls-Royce has announced the latest stage in its research and development plans to make remote and autonomous shipping a reality, confirming that Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation – has agreed to provide “a significant research grant” to fund further investment in an unmanned ship R&D centre in Turku, Finland.

Rolls-Royce and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have announced a strategic partnership focusing on the design, testing and validation of first generation remote and autonomous ships, with the eventual aim of making such vessels a commercial reality.

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