Finland’s Technology firm ABB enabled a
successful trial of remotely operated passenger ferry, Suomenlinna II. With
this trial, ABB successfully tested the enhancement of ship operations with
technologies that are already available for nearly any kind of vessel.
"With this historic trial in the Finnish
capital’s port last week, ABB and Helsinki City Transport took the next step in
autonomous shipping", the company said.
"We are excited about the potential impact
of this test on the future of the maritime industry,” said Peter Terwiesch,
President of ABB’s Industrial Automation division.
Suomenlinna II was retrofitted with ABB’s new
dynamic positioning system, ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control, and steered from
a control center in Helsinki.
Speaking after the voyage, Captain Lasse Heinonen
said: “The progress we have made with the remote trial has been remarkable. I
believe we are on the right track to exploring further possibilities of this
technology as we move forward.”
"This trial represents a crucial step toward
increasing the maritime industry’s acceptance of autonomous operation
systems", the company said.
The trial took place during the vessel’s off hours,
away from shore with no passengers aboard, in an area free of other vessels.
While it is now equipped with the new dynamic positioning system, the vessel
will continue to operate via a set of conventional onboard controls, with the
remote mode deployed during the trial only. Research and development will
continue with the ferry and her crew.
Suomenlinna II, originally built in 2004, is
fitted with ABB’s icebreaking Azipod electric propulsion system. Additionally,
the ferry was retrofitted with ABB Ability Marine Pilot Vision situational
awareness solution in 2017. Suomenlinna II operates year-round, undisturbed by
the harsh winter conditions that affect all other modes of transport in the
Helsinki region. ABB Ability is ABB’s leading offering of digital solutions and