Rolls-Royce and the autonomous ferry

Rolls-Royce, in partnership with Finferries,demonstrates the world's first fully remote and autonomous ferry

Rolls-Royce and Finnish state-owned ferry operator Finferries have successfully demonstrated the world’s first fully autonomous ferry in the archipelago south of the city of Turku, Finland.

Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Commercial Marine, said: “Today marks a huge step forward in the journey towards autonomous shipping and reaffirms exactly what we have been saying for several years, that autonomous shipping will happen. The SVAN project has been a successful collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Finferries and an ideal opportunity to showcase to the world how Ship Intelligence technology can bring great benefits in the safe and efficient operation of ships.

“This is a very proud moment for all of us and marks our most significant milestone so far. Today’s demonstration proves that the autonomous ship is not just a concept, but something that will transform shipping as we know it.”

The car ferry Falco used a combination of Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence technologies to successfully navigate autonomously during its voyage between Parainen and Nauvo. The return journey was conducted under remote control

During the demonstration, the Falco, with 80 invited VIP guests aboard, conducted the voyage under fully autonomous control. The vessel detected objects utilising sensor fusion and artificial intelligence and conducted collision avoidance. It also demonstrated automatic berthing with a recently developed autonomous navigation system. All this was achieved without any human intervention from the crew.

Mats Rosin, Finferries’ CEO, added: “We are very proud that maritime history has been made on the Parainen-Nauvo-route once again. First with our world-renowned hybrid vessel Elektra and now Falco as the world’s first autonomous ferry. As a modern ship-owner our main goal in this cooperation has been on increasing safety in marine traffic as this is beneficial for both the environment and our passengers. But we are also equally excited about how this demonstration opens the door to the new possibilities of autonomous shipping and safety.”

The Falco is a 53.8 metre double-ended car ferry, which entered service with Finferries in 1993. It is equipped with twin azimuth thrusters from Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce, whose marine product range is one of the broadest in the world, will exhibit at Seawork in 2019. Seventy of the world’s maritime forces and over 30,000 commercial vessels use the company’s equipment today.

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