Jessica Tabinor IT & Digital
The world’s first fully autonomous ferry has been demonstrated in Finland, navigating itself from Paralnen to Nauvo.
The 53.8m double-ended car ferry is one of its kind, using a unique combination of Rolls-Royce and Finnish state-owned ferry operator, Finferries ship intelligence technologies.
The vessel was able to detect objects using a sensor function and artificial intelligence to conduct collision avoidance.
According to Rolls-Royce, their advanced technology allows Falco to build a detailed picture of its surroundings in real time. It also demonstrated automatic berthing with a recently developed autonomous navigation system. All this was achieved without any human intervention from the crew.
Although the outward journey was completed entirely autonomously, the return journey was controlled remotely from a command centre 50 kilometres away in Turku, demonstrating that the ship can be commandeered by a human if required. (Image sourced via theengineer.co.uk)
Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce President for 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. Today’s demonstration proves that the autonomous ship is not just a concept, but something that will transform shipping as we know it.”
Mats Rosin, Finferries’ CEO, said:
“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.”