Sea Machines Robotics said recently that it will embark on a 1,000-nautical-mile autonomous and remotely commanded journey around Denmark later this month.
The voyage marks a landfall moment for autonomous transportation and is slated to prove that the world’s waterways are primed and ready for long-range autonomy, Sea Robotics officials said.
The selected vessel, a modern ubiquitous tug designed and built by Damen Shipyards, is named the Nellie Bly. It will depart from Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 30, with full onboard vessel control managed by autonomous technology, while operating under the authority of commanding officers located in the U.S.
The object of the voyage is to prove that operators can integrate autonomous technology into their vessel operations for a host of technology-driven benefits, from enhanced safety and reliability to leaps in productivity and new on-water capabilities.
At the helm will be the Sea Machines SM300 autonomous system, which will also utilize the latest in Sea Machines’ long-range computer vision. The SM300 is a comprehensive sensor-to-propeller autonomy system that uses advanced path-planning, obstacle avoidance replanning, vectored nautical chart data and dynamic domain perception, all to control a voyage from start to finish. The SM300 provides the remote human commanders with an active chart environment with live augmented overlays showing the mission, state of vessel, situational awareness and environmental data, as well as real-time, vessel-born audio and video from many streaming cameras.
Marine fleets operate in our planet’s most lively and often potent environment where the direct forces on vessels regularly exceed those ever experienced by machines on road, air or space. Safety of ship, crew and cargo is paramount within the Sea Machines' autonomy stack, with protection behaviors that enable the industry to optimize operations with assurance and an exacting balance of safety, productivity, and efficiency.
Throughout the voyage the Nellie Bly will carry two professional mariners and occasional guest passengers. It will call on ports along the route to display and demonstrate the technology. Sea Machines will stream the journey live on a website.