A remotely operated tug is set to circle Denmark on a multi-week 1,000 nautical mile voyage, and its operators hope to prove that the world’s waterways are prepared and ready for autonomous navigation.
Designed and built by Damen Shipyards, the Nellie bly will depart from Hamburg, Germany on September 30.
Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics said the trip dubbed “The Machine Odyssey” marked a landing moment for autonomous transportation, allowing the company to demonstrate how operators can integrate autonomous technology into their ship operations. for a host of technological advantages, ranging from improved safety and reliability to leaps in productivity and new capabilities on the water.
“Just as other land-based industries shift the repetitive manual chores of human systems to predictable robotic systems, our autonomous technology elevates humans from controller to commander, with most direct continuous control efforts being handled by technology,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines. .
Johnson added that reshaping the human-technology relationship is the basis for a new era of offshore operations, providing industries on the water with the tools and capabilities to be much more competitive and operate in better harmony with the world. the natural ocean environment.
The Nellie bly was installed with the Sea Machines SM300 autonomy system. The complete sensor-propeller system uses advanced path planning, obstacle avoidance replanning, vector nautical chart data, and dynamic domain perception designed to control a trip from start to finish. The ship will carry two professional sailors and occasional guest passengers, calling at 14 ports along the route to display and demonstrate the technology.
The Nellie bly odyssey joins a growing number of companies undertaking test shipments of autonomous systems on commercial vessels. South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Norwegian Yara are among the companies actively pursuing the technology, with plans to launch it on commercial vessels as early as 2023.
Autonomous technology – including autonomous vessel technology – is contested by many dockworkers, however. The influential US International Longshoremen’s Association has stated that its members will not service automated vessels operating without a crew.