Foss Maritime in Seattle has agreed a deal to implement autonomous operations systems from Sea Machines Robotics aboard its tugboat Rachael Allen, the fourth of a group of new ASD-90 tugs under construction in Washington.
The newly built 90-ton bollard pull will be installed with the SM300 autonomous-command and control system from Sea Machines and will be the first US-flagged harbour tug to integrate autonomous systems in real-world commercial operations. The project also marks Sea Machines’ first installation of an autonomy system on a vessel over 5,000hp.
Once delivered, the tugboat will be deployed by Foss Maritime to provide tanker escort and ship assists. SM300 will provide remote access to the tugboat’s on-board machinery, allowing personnel to manage and support operations from anywhere on board the vessel or from shore via streaming video and sensor data. Navigation obstacle detection and avoidance capabilities also come as standard.
While the Rachael Allen will be delivered with the SM300 and supporting hardware fully integrated, the capability of the technology will be activated in stepped phases over the course of six to nine months to ensure full visibility and acceptance from all operational stakeholders, the companies said.
“Foss is leveraging Sea Machines’ cutting-edge technology to take on the routine work and allow crew to focus on higher-level tasks and improve safety, while also increasing productivity and efficiency during harbour operations,” said Will Roberts, President and CEO at Foss Maritime.
“Foss prides itself on always offering customers safe and innovative solutions, and this is one more way that we are delivering on that promise.”