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Finnish ferry completes autonomous voyage with 80 passengers

Rolls-Royce and Finnish state-owned ferry operator Finferries have completed a successful demonstration of what they claim is the world’s first fully autonomous ferry in an archipelago south of the city of Turku, Finland.

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  • Sea Machines demonstrates autonomous oil spill response

    Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics has successfully demonstrated its autonomous systems in action onboard a Kvichak Marco skimmer boat during events held along the Portland harbour this week.

    Sea Machines’ on-water demonstrations took place onboard the world’s first autonomous spill response vessel. The Vigor/Kvichak Marine Industries-built skimmer boat, owned by Marine Spill Response Corp. (MSRC), performed remote autonomous operations in front of a live audience including those from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), of which Sea Machines has a cooperative agreement with. Government, naval, international, environmental and industry representatives were also present.

    From a shoreside location at Portland Yacht Services, a Sea Machines operator commanded the SM300-equipped skimmer boat to perform the following capabilities:

    • Remote autonomous control from an onshore location or secondary vessel,
    • ENC-based mission planning,
    • Autonomous waypoint tracking,
    • Autonomous grid line tracking,
    • Collaborative autonomy for multi-vessel operations, and
    • Wireless, remote payload control to deploy onboard boom, skimmer belt and other response equipment.

    Sea Machines also discussed how to operate the skimmer in an unmanned autonomous mode, which enables operators to respond to spill events 24/7 depending on recovery conditions, even when crews are restricted. These configurations also reduce or eliminate exposure of crewmembers to challenging sea and weather, toxic fumes and other safety hazards.

    “Our operation of the world’s first autonomous, remote-commanded spill-response vessel is yet another significant industry first for Sea Machines,” said Michael G. Johnson, founder and CEO, Sea Machines. “But even more important is the fact that we’ve proven that our technology can be applied to the marine spill response industry – as well as other marine sectors – to protect the health and lives of mariners responding to spills. We are proud to support MSRC’s mission of response preparedness and to work alongside MARAD for these important demonstrations.”

    “MSRC is excited to work with Sea Machines on this new technology.  The safety of our personnel is the most important consideration in any response. Autonomous technology enhances safe operations,” said John Swift, vice president, MSRC.

    "This is the future of the maritime industry. It’s safer, it’s faster, it’s more cost-effective,” said Richard Balzano, deputy administrator, MARAD. “This technology is here and it will make you a believer. We are here because we want to help the maritime industry evolve. It’s about safety, the environment and reducing risk on the water.”

  • Rolls-Royce and ZF develop electronic monitoring system for ships

    ZF and Rolls-Royce are developing and testing a new electronic monitoring system for ships to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

  • Autonomous shipping momentum heads towards One Sea

    Joined up thinking on technology standards and shipping rules critical if autonomous shipping is to prove seaworthy says Päivi Haikkola, One Sea Ecosystem Lead.

  • Kongsberg completes Rolls-Royce marine acquisition

    Kongsberg Maritime parent company Kongsberg Gruppen (Kongsberg) has completed the acquisition of Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine (RRCM). RRCM will operate under the Kongsberg brand and the Kongsberg Maritime legal entity.

  • IMO chief highlights seafarer’s role in automated future

    IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has highlighted the need to consider seafarer training and standards as the use of technology in shipping evolves in the future, and the automation of tasks currently performed by humans continues to grow.

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