Wärtsilä makes auto-docking system commercially available

Following the completion of the latest series of tests of its SmartDock auto-docking system, which included hosting a number of industry representatives as passengers onboard the test vessel, Wärtsilä says that it has now secured the first order for the system as it makes the technology commercially available.

Using the SmartDock system, the Captain can select the destination and, with a click of the ‘sail’ button, turn over control to the computer. The ship then leaves the dock, manoeuvres out of the harbour, sails to the next port of call, manoeuvres into the harbour and docks alongside the quay, all without human intervention.

“The SmartDock solution is the culmination of decades of extensive research and testing by Wärtsilä in automation technology,” said Joonas Makkonen, Vice President, Voyage Solutions, Wärtsilä.

“Our system draws on similar automation and positioning technology used by oil rig support vessels to maintain proximity to the rig in the toughest sea environments. This gives us absolute confidence in SmartDock’s ability to meet the urgent commercial need to provide the safest possible docking for commuter ferries.”

This latest round of trials were carried out onboard the ‘Folgefonn’, an 85 metre ferry owned by Norwegian operator Norled. The testing also included checks on Wärtsilä Guidance Marine’s CyScan AS with GeoLock technology, a secondary position sensor which enables the approach to the berth to continue even if the GPS signal is lost.

“We continue to be impressed with the Wärtsilä SmartDock system, which is unique in that it works hand-in-hand with the Captain to ensure the best performance on every docking, every day. It’s the perfect collaboration between an experienced crew and technology,” said Inge Andre Utåker, Regional Director, Norled.