Wärtsilä has joined a global consortium of technology partners including IBM and ExactEarth on the Mayflower autonomous ship project, providing a radar system to the vessel
The Wärtsilä RS24 radar system is a high-speed, high-resolution FMCW K-Band radar (24 GHz) designed to provide high levels of situational awareness in densely populated marine environments. The RS24 radar system will work in tandem with Mayflower’s onboard cameras, AIS and navigational systems as a core part of the AI Captain. The AI Captain constantly evaluates Mayflower’s environment and long-term goals, and modifies the ship’s course to avoid debris and storms which could threaten the ship at sea.
The RS24 has a five times higher resolution than existing marine S and X-Band radars with spin cycles of 60 rpm. The company said this will enable resolution separation of small craft in crowded waters, especially in close proximity to the vessel, and will allow Mayflower to navigate safely in complex situations. The radar system is designed to identify potential hazards and uses data from the video recognition and AIS to produce a high-fidelity map of the operating area.
Wärtsilä Voyage business development manager Dr Sasha Heriot said the RS24 “will form the primary instrument for acquiring and tracking targets, and maintaining situational awareness at a scale that allows for early path planning and hazard reduction.”
The system was previously installed as one of the primary sensors on board Wärtsilä’s IntelliTug – the first commercial maritime autonomous surface ship, which underwent a trials in Singaporean waters last year.
In September 2020, the Mayflower autonomous ship will attempt to retrace the voyage of the original Mayflower across the Atlantic ocean using artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and edge computing, and remote monitoring technology. Led by marine research organisation, ProMare, the project is developing autonomous systems that can later be deployed commercially, offering a window into the future of shipping and marine research.
IBM is providing the AI, cloud and edge computing, and power systems behind Mayflower’s AI Captain that will enable the vessel to sense, think and make decisions at sea. And ExactEarth will supply live satellite AIS data into the mission’s operations centre.
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