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Inmarsat Joins Rolls-Royce’s Autonomous Ship Project

By Caleb Henry | September 8, 2015
Rolls-Royce Maritime Autonomous Ship

Rolls-Royce created this concept under FIMECC (Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster) user experience and usability program, UXUS. This future bridge operation experience concept (oX) for remote operated cargo vessels is envisioned together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in 2012-2014. Photo: Rolls-Royce

[Via Satellite 09-08-2015] Inmarsat is participating in Rolls-Royce’s Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) to evaluate how to make autonomous ships a reality. The project, funded by the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation, Tekes, brings industry partners together with universities, research institutes, ship owners, and other stakeholders to explore the economic, social, legal, regulatory, and technological factors which need to be addressed.

Inmarsat’s role in the project is to provide the satellite communications link and platform, which is essential to remote control capability. The company’s Fleet Xpress service, which uses the now complete Global Xpress Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) system and the operator’s L-band satellites, forms the basis of the system. The AAWA Initiative goes until the end of 2017, and will build on existing ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication platforms as well as their effectiveness for supporting remote control functionality.

Inmarsat AAWA Rolls-Royce

Diagram illustrates the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) Initiative by Rolls-Royce. Photo: Inmarsat

“The wide-ranging project will look at research carried out to date, before exploring the business case for autonomous applications, the safety and security implications of designing and operating remotely operated ships, the legal and regulatory implications, and the existence and readiness of a supplier network able to deliver commercially applicable products in the short to medium term,” said Esa Jokioinen, head of the Blue Ocean Team at Rolls-Royce. “The technological work stream will be led by Rolls-Royce and encompass expertise from across a range of world-leading capabilities within the marine market.”