Ferry Makes Automated Debut in Finnish Waters

Tuesday February 19, 2019

Automation in shipping moved a step closer in December when a ferry was operated remotely in Finnish waters.

Falco, a Finferries vessel, used Rolls-Royce automation systems to leave its dock and navigate around several obstacles in the waters of the Turku archipelago before returning to base. The operation was controlled by a master in an office in the centre of Turku.

The showcase event, which included guests and journalists onboard the ferry, was organised by Finferries and Rolls-Royce, according to marine tech news provider Passengership.

Sensors attached to the ship furnish remote operators with a 3D picture of the vessel's surroundings to enable automated control.

Further ahead, the use of a variety of data sources -- from satellite navigation as well as vessel transponders and sensors -- would allow a ship to sail autonomously with minimal human input, the report said.