Wartsila Notes Advances in Automated Shipping

The ‘Folgefonn’ was operated autonomously for its entire route from dock-to-dock with the Wärtsilä automated dock-to-dock solution.

Wartsila announced it had completed a further round of test procedures of its automated dock-to-dock solution.

 

Under the presence of the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA), the system was further tested on the ferry Folgefonn, this time for full dock-to-dock capability, with the autonomous operation being run uninterrupted for the entire route, visiting all three ports serviced by the ship.

“This represents a huge step forward in validating automated shipping solutions, and an important progression within our Smart Marine programme. This emphasises once again Wärtsilä’s recognised position as the global technology leader in marine innovations. We continue to lead the way in developing the ‘intelligent’ products and systems needed to move the marine industry towards a new era of super-high efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability,” said Joonas Makkonen, vice president, voyage solutions, Wartsila. 

Once the operator selected the next destination berth, the operation was started by simply selecting “Sail”, according to a press release, which authorized the autonomous controller to take control of the vessel. The ferry was able to leave the dock, manoeuvre out of the harbor, sail to the next port of call, manoeuvre through the harbor entrance, and dock alongside the terminal – all without human intervention.

“We were on site for three days as witnesses to these tests; the first full scale demonstration towards an autonomous operation of a vessel that we have seen. It was, to say the least, very impressive. There is no doubt that such technology can eventually increase the safety and overall efficiency of the docking and undocking operations for ships. Of course, further development work is still ongoing, but I am impressed by how stable the system already is at this stage,” added Nils Haktor Bua, project manager at NMA. 

The Folgefonn is owned by Norwegian ferry operator Norled. It was used also for the initial testing of the Wärtsilä autodocking solution, which took place earlier this year.

The vessel is also equipped with hybrid propulsion with wireless shore connection capable of fully electric operation, and features numerous other innovations, including its wireless inductive battery charging solution and energy storage systems.

“We are pleased to cooperate with Wärtsilä in this exciting project. A fully autonomous dock-to-dock solution will provide us with considerable value-adding benefits in terms of better efficiency, greater safety, lower fuel consumption and, therefore, reduced exhaust emissions. We see the Wärtsilä solution as being a key support to the crew, enabling them to operate the vessel as effectively as possible,” added Sigbjørn Myrvang, technical manager at Norled.

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