Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rolls - Royce Launches Autonomous Shipping Projects to Ocean Freight Transport

New Developments in Cooperation with Others
Shipping News Feature
FINLAND – Rolls-Royce may not be the first name to spring to mind in the context of freight transport but the company has announced the latest stage in its research and development plans to make remotely controlled and autonomous deep sea vessels a reality in order to reap the benefits of increasing digitalisation in the shipping industry, with plans to establish a global research and development centre in Turku, Finland, to be opened later in the year.

Together with its partners, the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and Tampere University of Technology, along with several SME's and start-ups specialising in novel technologies, Rolls-Royce plans to carry out further development projects focused on the future development of land-based control centres, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations. Mikael Mäkinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine said:

“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. 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.”

Rolls-Royce's Centre of Excellence for autonomous shipping collaborates with the Autonomous Shipping Alliance, of which it is a member. The alliance aims to provide the world's first autonomous maritime products and services and create a flourishing network by 2025. A research grant, awarded by Tekes - Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation which says that it is committed to funding the work of the alliance and its ambitious research and development projects, is intended to support such innovations in order to achieve the avowed aim of remotely operated and autonomous shipping in future years.

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, data analysis, optimisation of ships and their on board equipment. Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Director, Digital & Systems – Marine, added:

“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.

“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.”