The world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel has been successfully demonstrated in Copenhagen Harbor, Denmark, by Rolls-Royce and global towage operator Svitzer.
Previously, one of Svitzer´s tugs, the 28m-long Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled maneuvers. From the quay side in the harbor, the vessel’s captain, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360° and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ before docking again.
The companies have also signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels, focusing on autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control center systems and communication.
The Svitzer Hermod is equipped with a Rolls-Royce Dynamic Positioning System, which is the key link to the remote controlled system. The vessel is also equipped with a pair of MTU 16V4000 M63 diesel engines from Rolls-Royce, each rated 2000 kW at 1800 rpm.
The vessel also features a range of sensors which combine different data inputs using advanced software to give the captain an enhanced understanding of the vessel and its surroundings. The data are transmitted reliably and securely to a Remote Operating Centre (ROC) from where the captain controls the vessel.
The Remote Operating Centre was designed to redefine the way in which vessels are controlled. Instead of copying existing wheelhouse design, the ROC used input from experienced captains to optimally place the different system components so as to give the master confidence and control. The aim is to create a future-proof standard for the remote control of vessels.
Throughout the demonstration the vessel had a fully qualified captain and crew on board to ensure safe operation in the event of a system failure.