Rolls-Royce Leads New €6.6 million Autonomous Ship Project

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday August 10, 2015

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc (Rolls-Royce) has announced that it will lead a new €6.6 million ($7.23 million) project working toward autonomous ships, known as the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative.

The project is funded by Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and is intended to "produce the specification and preliminary designs for the next generation of advanced ship solutions."

"By combining new technologies with new approaches to ship design and system integration, the team aims to reduce operational costs, minimise emissions, and enhance the earning capability of vessels," stated Rolls-Royce.

The project is expected to run until the end of 2017 and will bring together some of "Finland's top academic researchers" from Tampere University of Technology, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Åbo Akademi University, Aalto University, the University of Turku, and leading members of the maritime cluster, such as Rolls-Royce, NAPA, Deltamarin, DNV GL, and Inmarsat.

"Rolls-Royce has extensive experience of successfully coordinating multi-disciplinary teams developing complex technologies," said Esa Jokioinen, Head of Blue Ocean Team with Rolls-Royce.

"We bring a world leading range of capabilities in the marine market to the project including vessel design, the integration of complex systems and the supply and support of power and propulsion equipment.

"We are excited to be taking the first concrete steps towards making remote controlled and autonomous ship applications a reality."

The project will begin by examining previous research on the topic, as well as exploring the business case for autonomous vessels, including safety and security aspects of design and operation of remote-controlled ships.

In February 2014, Rolls-Royce first announced that it was in the process of developing unmanned cargo ships that could be deployed within a decade.