The maritime industry increasingly moves towards autonomy, and Rolls-Royce has been a major driver of the initiative globally. Today Rolls-Royce announced a deal with Japanese multi-modal transport company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), to collaborate in the development of its intelligent awareness system. Specifically the intitiative will be trialled onboard the 165-m passenger ferry Sunflower, owned and operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ subsidiary company, which makes the 222-nautical mile run between Kobe and Oita via the Akashi Kaikyo, Bisan Seto and Kurushima Straits.
An intelligent awareness systems will be deployed with the aim of making the vessel safer, easier and more efficient to operate by providing crew with an enhanced understanding of their vessel’s surroundings. This will be achieved by fusing data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems; such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radar. Data from other sources, including global databases, will also have a role.
The intelligent awareness system will benefit from Rolls-Royce’s extensive experience in the Tekes funded project Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA), which has been running since June 2015. The company has been conducting a series of tests of the sensor arrays in a range of operating and climatic conditions on board Finferries’ 65 metre double ended ferry Stella, which operates between Korpo and Houtskär in the Archipelago Sea on the southwest coast of Finland.