EU funds autonomous shipping initiative for European waters

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The European Commission revealed a new funding for an autonomous shipping initiative for the European waters.

Under the project titled Autoship, two remote and autonomous (R&A) vessels would be built and operated, along with their needed shore control and operation infrastructure, reaching and going over technology readiness levels 7 -system prototype demonstration in operational environment.

With a duration of three and a half years, the project has a budget of EUR 27.6 million, out of which EUR 20.1 million would be provided by the EU.

Testing will take place during two pilot demonstration campaigns addressing goods mobility from the Baltic Corridor to a major EU seaport and hinterland. Autoship would build around two EU technology providers, such as Rolls Royce and Kongsberg, to create a stronger European cluster.

The development is expected to speed-up the next generation of autonomous ships by demonstrating in real environment short sea shipping and inland waterways autonomous vessels, according to the European Commission.

The technology package would include full-autonomous navigation, self-diagnostic, prognostics and operation scheduling, as well as communication technology enabling a prominent level of cyber security and integrating the vessels into upgraded e-infrastructure. In parallel, digital tools and methodologies for design, simulation and cost analysis would be developed for the whole community of autonomous ships.

“The high ambition is to deliver the technology on the market in 5 years boosting ocean and intercontinental unmanned shipping. It is an ambition with a solid base in the involved value-chain and in the financial and commercial commitment,” the EC said.