Integrated power and propulsion solutions provider Rolls-Royce and Japanese multimodal transport company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines have teamed up to develop an intelligent awareness system.
Rolls-Royce said the system would “make vessels safer, easier and more efficient to operate by providing crew with an enhanced understanding of their vessel’s surroundings.”
“This will be achieved by fusing data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems, such as the automatic identification system (AIS) and radar,” it explained.
The partnership will utilize the 165-meter passenger ferry Sunflower, owned and operated by the subsidiary company of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.
The ship operates on a 222-nautical mile route between Kobe and Oita via Akashi Kaikyo, Bisan Seto and Kurushma Straits.
“Sunflower operates in some of the most congested waters in the world and will provide an opportunity to test rigorously Rolls-Royce’s intelligent awareness system. We also expect it to provide our crews with a more informed view of a vessel’s surroundings in an accessible and user friendly way,” Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ Director Kenta Arai said in a statement.
“This can give our crews an enhanced decision support tool, increasing their safety and that of our vessels. This is a significant challenge to front-line technology leading to our ultimate goal of autonomous sailing,” it added.
According to Rolls-Royce, it expects the product to be commerically available in 2018.
“We are exploring and testing how to combine sensor technologies effectively and affordably. Pilot projects such as this allow us to see how they can be best adapted to the needs of the customer and their crews so that our product effectively meets the needs of both,” Rolls-Royce Director of Marine Digital and Systems Asbjørn Skaro said.