Rolls-Royce and Finferries demo world's first fully autonomous ferry

Rolls-Royce and Finferries demo world's first fully autonomous ferry
Falco autonomously navigated her way across the Finnish archipelago without human intervention

Rolls-Royce and Finnish ferry operator Finferries have successfully transported 80 people on the world’s first fully autonomous ferry in the archipelago south of Turku, Finland.

Finferries’ double-ended car ferry Falco used Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence technologies to autonomously navigate her way between Parainen and Nauvo, relying on advanced sensors, artificial intelligence and collision avoidance capabilities to build a real-time picture of her surroundings and safely circumvent obstacles. The ferry also used the Rolls-Royce Autodocking system to automatically alter course and speed when approaching the quay and dock without human intervention.

Falco’s return journey was conducted under remote control with Finferries using sensor data from the ferry at its land-based remote operating centre, which is located 50 kilometres away from the archipelago in Turku’s city centre.

“We are very proud that maritime history has been made on the Parainen-Nauvo-route once again,” said Mats Rosin, Finferries’ CEO. “First with our world-renowned hybrid vessel Elektra and now Falco as the world’s first autonomous ferry. As a modern shipowner, 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.”

Rolls-Royce and Finferries equipped Falco with the technologies as part of a new Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation (SVAN) project.

“Today marks a huge step forward in the journey towards autonomous shipping and reaffirms exactly what we have been saying for several years: autonomous shipping will happen,” said Mikael Makinen, president of Commercial Marine for Rolls-Royce. “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. Today’s demonstration proves that the autonomous ship is not just a concept, but something that will transform shipping as we know it.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, December 4, 2018