Japanese shipping group Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is set to begin testing an intelligent awareness system on a ferry that operates in congested waters. MOL is working with Rolls-Royce’s marine division to test intelligence awareness on passenger ferry Sunflower.
Rolls-Royce general manager for research and development in operations Iiro Lindborg said a tripod of sensors has been deployed on this ferry and test trials are set to begin in the first week of April.
Sunflower operates a passenger service over a 220-nautical mile route between Kobe and Oita in Japan only at night. This takes it through the Akashi Kaikyo, Bisan Seto and Kurushima Straits, which Mr Lindborg said were some of the most congested waters in the world.
Intelligent awareness provides information to crew to enhance their understanding of a ship’s surroundings. It combines data from a network of onboard sensors with information from bridge equipment such as ECDIS, automatic identification system (AIS), radar and environmental data.
Rolls-Royce’s intelligent awareness system on Sunflower includes a tripod of sensors that incorporate a camera unit, radar, inertial navigation system and AIS equipment.
“We are collaborating with MOL to get feedback from owners,” said Mr Lindborg. “Sunflower has a challenging route at night with an oil terminal in the way and fishing vessels and nets during a 12-hour voyage.”
Rolls-Royce has also carried out trials of intelligent awareness with Stena Line in 2017. “We used a tripod plug-and-play unit on ferry Stena Atlantica that operates between Frederikshavn, Germany, and Gothenburg, Sweden,” he explained. “We are having discussions about a fixed installation.”