June 20, 2017

VTT steers ship of the future to safety

The autonomous ship of the future will mostly rely on artificial intelligence, with remote human pilots taking over under unusual circumstances or during docking, for example.
The autonomous ship of the future will mostly rely on artificial intelligence, with remote human pilots taking over under unusual circumstances or during docking, for example.
VTT

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing safe steering technology for navigation systems that will automatically steer the remote monitored and controlled ships of the future.

While the ship of the future will be largely autonomous, there are situations that still require a human hand. VTT is developing its Apilot autopilot, which can make that distinction and has three modes: ‘track mode’, ‘heading mode’ and joystick mode.’

In track mode, the ship follows a previously established route. If another ship must be avoided, Apilot changes into heading mode, enabling the autopilot to slightly change the ship’s heading to avoid collision. While in joystick mode, Apilot adjusts control and propulsion equipment to low speed manoeuvrings, so a remote human controller can take over the docking of the ship, for example.

“VTT has deep knowledge of autonomous ship research concerning especially reliability and safety topics,” says Jussi Martio, senior scientist at VTT. “Such special expertise has now led to the development of navigation systems for autonomous ships.”

VTT has also developed new concepts for the bridge and remote control rooms of the autonomous ships of the future. The aim of the designs is to make operations safer, more efficient and more comfortable.

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