One Sea alliance, which aims to operate an autonomous maritime ecosystem by 2025, has appointed a master mariner as its new chairman and a digital portfolio manager as a vice chairman from rival technology developers
This industry alliance appointed ABB Marine & Ports head of regulatory and public affairs captain Eero Lehtovaara as its chairman. He is an associate fellow of the Nautical Institute, chairman of CIMAC’s working group on azimuthing propulsion standards and sits on ABS and Lloyd’s Register technical committees.
“At this time of digital transformation, my mission is to develop the alliance into the most influential think tank relating to autonomous and intelligent shipboard systems and operation,” said Capt Lehtovaara.
“One Sea member companies, which are fierce competitors on the one hand, appreciate that establishing new guidelines and regulations for autonomy in shipping requires a carefully co-ordinated and collaborative effort,” he said.
Demonstrating this collaborative approach, One Sea appointed Wärtsilä vice president for digital portfolio management Mikko Tepponen as its new vice chairman.
Capt Lehtovaara thinks industry partnerships will help develop and adopt the autonomous systems of tomorrow.
“We are entering new times as connectivity allows ships to become part of integrated systems with an element of control now possible from shore,” he said.
“However, the legal requirements associated with intelligent systems and their impact on the shipping industry will require a partner for the regulatory bodies that are establishing the necessary new standards.”
One Sea intends to be that partner to regulatory entities. “Our members must be confident that a suitably robust legal framework exists for them to design, manufacture and market the autonomous systems of tomorrow. One Sea alliance will provide them with a co-ordinated voice.”
One Sea is led by digital platform company DIMECC (Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-creation) Ltd.
In another development this week, UK-based Robosys Automation announced it will introduce software to support watchkeepers on vessels with reduced-manned bridges. Its Voyager 100 software will provide advisories for decision support in navigation and collision avoidance. It can also be an intelligent autopilot to manoeuvre the vessel on behalf of the crew.
Robosys developed artificial intelligence (AI) for this bridge software and new human-machine interfaces. These will be launched at the end of January 2020 at MARIN’s research facilities in Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Robosys chief executive Aditya Nawab said Voyager 100 would not replace crew, but provide support to improve navigational safety. “Crew are essential to the modern ship and in short supply, so we need to use them wisely,” he said. “Voyager 100 allows the bridge crew to multitask safely, while providing a steady ‘hand on the helm,” Mr Nawab explained.
Robosys worked with MARIN in a joint industry project (JIP) to test autonomous vessels and navigation technology in the North Sea in 2019.
Robosys autonomous navigation system was integrated in a Damen-designed and built 26-m fast crew support vessel and tested off the Netherlands.
Two other vessels, a 30-m research vessel and a 65-m coastguard emergency towing vessel were tasked with challenging Robosys’s obstacle avoidance software’s collision avoidance capabilities. These trials proved its ability to navigate safely, taking full account of the risks and complying with the International Collision regulations.
Other developments in autonomous shipping this week included classification society ClassNK releasing its Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation of ships - Design development, Installation and Operation of Automated Operation Systems/Remote Operation Systems.
Also the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency opened its MARLab project centre in Portland, England, to commercial operators for testing autonomous vessel technology.