World’s first remote-controlled commercial ship demonstrated in Copenhagen Harbour

Stephen Gadd
June 22nd, 2017

This article is more than 6 years old.

Crewless ships could be a step closer after successful Danish trials

Beam me up, Scotty! Steering a ship might never be the same again (photo: Rolls-Royce plc)

A captain from the global towage operater Svitzer was able to steer a 28 metre-long tug through Copenhagen Harbour, dock and undock at a quay, and turn the ship 360 degrees – without moving from the company’s office.

All of this has been possible due to the combination of technology developed by Rolls-Royce and know-how from Svitzer.

READ ALSO: We’ve got self-driving cars, now Denmark wants self-driving ships

“It was an honour to be present at what I believe was a world first and a genuinely historic moment for the maritime industry. We’ve been saying for a couple of years that a remotely-operated commercial vessel would be in operation by the end of the decade,” said Mikael Makinen, the president of the marine division of Rolls-Royce.

“Thanks to a unique combination of Svitzer’s operational knowledge and our technological expertise, we have made that vision a reality much sooner than we anticipated.”

Look! no hands!
A range of sensors on the ship combine data inputs using advanced software to give the captain an enhanced understanding of the ship and its surroundings.

The data is transmitted to a remote operating centre from where the captain controls the ship.

Throughout the demonstration the tug had a fully-qualified captain and crew on board poised to take over manually should a systems failure had taken place.

Five other tugs in Svitzer’s fleet are also scheduled to be equipped with the same technology.


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