Page 19: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (December 2018)
Great Ships of 2018
The autonomous industry will also have to contend technologies, such as sensors, big data and arti? cial tions, the future of autonomous shipping is slowly but with the fact that the speed of technological develop- intelligence if more decisions are taking place ashore. surely progressing. Stability solutions will be one sec- ments is outpacing global regulatory development, as New tools, software for monitoring stability, longitudi- tion of a vast network for operating autonomous ves- seen in the length of time it has taken to sustain clear nal strength and movement may also be considered by sels, and solution providers as well as shipping com- 2020 sulphur cap guidelines. Many national regulators maritime professionals. It will be important for them to panies will still need to work on increasing the level have encouraged the shipping industry to trial autono- look beyond the current processes of ship design and automation and intelligence in decision making in or- mous or remote controlled ship operations within na- consider the impact of autonomous operations. der to aspire for totally machine-controlled vessel. Ul- tional waters, which is a positive initiative. This has Stability computers, which typically process data for timately, autonomous shipping will start to rede? ne the led to many countries developing their own regulations up to 200 sensors sources, will also have a greater im- maritime industry.
during the initial trial stages. However, in the long run pact due to the signi? cant increase in the num- cooperation is needed between different countries to ber of sensors being used due to the autonomy ensure consistent regulations are in place. on the ship. This will create better situational data and predictions being processed, with the
The Advanced Autonomous possibility of introducing increased monitor-
Waterborne Applications Initiative ing for weather, cargo displacement, and other
One example of research that has been conducted is technical areas. NAPA Fleet Intelligence is the AAWA initiative - or Advanced Autonomous Wa- a present day example of allowing onboard terborne Applications. From February 2015 – June software to help monitor and improve a ships 2017, a joint industry and academic research project performance. This can then be analyzed from on autonomous ships gained funding for €6.5 million ashore using cloud based software; which in- from the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and creases awareness of forecasted weather along
Innovations. The project sought to analyse different the sea passage, optimizes the ships perfor- scienti? c challenges related to autonomous ship opera- mance, and increases cargo and ship safety. tions; technology needs, risks, incentives and regula- All of these are the ultimate functioning goals tions/liabilities. It was through this initiative that au- and processes of an autonomous vessel or re- tonomous and remote operations for ship navigation, mote controlled ship. This kind of onboard machinery and all on-board operation systems could technology has helped pioneer automated and be developed. Rolls Royce and other leading industry reporting for monitoring ships. players, including NAPA, DNV-GL, Deltamarin, and The stability computer will also become the
Inmarsat led the project, and the research partners in- base for providing stability solutions and mak- cluded Aalto University, Tampere University of Tech- ing plans automatically based on the supplied nology, Åbo Akademi University, and VTT technical data from these sensors - once again highlight-
Research Centre Finland. ing the fact that a stability of? cer and crew
The ? rst phase of the AAWA initiative concluded that will not be needed on-board. However, alter- hybrid variations between remote and autonomy solu- natively, different scenarios from the comput- tions will happen. However, as previously mentioned, er could be transferred via the cloud to shore, the technology to make ships autonomous current exists, leaving the decision making to a shore-based but much still needs to be done to ensure it is reliable. team.
For example, autonomous ships may reduce the risk of human error given there’s no crew, but new types of The Design risks will be created, and this means that vessels will The original design of autonomous ships need to be as safe as existing ships, possibly even more is still in its infancy, as progress is continu- so. A great amount of work is still needed to address the ously made on the technology side. However, risks with new or adapted technologies. A major topic naval architects are considering numerous that was addressed in the AAWA initiative was marine factors and studies to understand how it will situational awareness and autonomous navigation. At affect ship stability and safety. For example, present, a pair of human eyes and ears is currently used autonomous vessels designs do not need to as the main sensors for decision-making and operations, factor in crew spaces, control rooms and whether a ship is equipped with digital sensors or not. bridges, but must be adapted to suit auto-
This means that a logical starting point is to analyze mated operations and alternative propulsion the current extensive portfolio of sensor products on- systems instead. Naval architects will also board ships to assess whether they are available and need to ensure that autonomous vessels are suitable for automation - why focus on developing new ? t for purpose, which is why development is products if a suitable product already exists? focused on smaller vessels, rather than pas-
What are the next steps? Technological solutions will senger vessels to begin with, as there will be need to be analyzed in greater depth to understand new less associated risks. risks, legal challenges and the stakeholders involved in A new design need is also emerging; rather autonomous operations. Ultimately, change is possible, than the ship itself, this one focuses on the re- but political willingness is needed, and liability issues quirement for the design of land-based centers need to be addressed. for controlling ship operations, as these may
This initiative’s actions triggered a clear understand- differ slightly from normal ? eet operations ing that stability will remain vital regardless if a ship is centers. This highlights, once more, that the autonomous or not. autonomous shipping industry will need time to determine best operational practices.
Autonomous Shipping Stability Management
Stability management remains a critical part of the de- Where Next?
sign process whether it is for a manned or autonomous With research and simulations now transi- vessel. Designers will need to start understanding new tioning to trials with existing and new solu- www.marinelink.com 19
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