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Finnish funding for Rolls-Royce unmanned ship R&D

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.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The company says that it plans to carry out further development projects at the facility focused on the future development of land-based control centres, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.

The project will also focus on developing partnerships and opportunities with other organisations around the world to create the capability, competencies and jobs required to supply the technology and components necessary for progress in the field.

“Digitalisation will transform the shipping industry in the years ahead, and the time is now right to set out how we are going to make this happen,” said Mikael Mäkinen, Rolls-Royce, president marine.

“Over the coming years we need to invest globally to develop the required capabilities and to establish a range of market-ready products and systems to take advantage of what is a significant global market opportunity.”

“By combining our world leading capability and knowledge, with a clear plan of where we need to go next, we can work with our customers, governments and our global academic research network to develop and bring to market the advanced technology, products and supporting services needed both ‘on-vessel’ and ‘on-shore’ to make our vision of future remote and autonomous ships a reality.”

In Norway, Rolls-Royce is currently investing in a range of R&D projects, which will include a new Marine Fleet Management Centre in Aalesund to allow remote monitoring and data analysis, as well as optimisation of ships and their on board equipment.

The centre will allow the company to extend the ‘Power by the Hour’ concept already applied in its aerospace business to the marine sector, making use of Big Data to monitor, plan and perform maintenance and repairs on onboard ship equipment.

“We are pleased to see the establishment of a centre for Remote Control & Autonomous Ships in Finland, and welcome the continued support from Tekes. We are looking at further funding and capability opportunities in countries including Finland, Norway, UK and Singapore to develop our ship intelligence technology and build customer partnerships worldwide,” said Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, director, digital & systems – marine.

“By drawing on our existing capabilities in our marine business, together with the global expertise we have across the Rolls-Royce Group and our relationships with partners, we believe we can secure up to £200 million of investment to revolutionise shipping.”{/mprestriction}

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