ABB and Singaporean shipyard Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) have successfully carried out the first remote joystick control of a tugboat in the Port of Singapore, operated from a shore command centre located at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Maritime Innovation Lab.
The remote and autonomous control system was built using technologies within ABB’s Ability Marine Pilot range, including Ability Marine Pilot Vision, which collects data from multiple shipboard sensors to generate a digital situational awareness framework, and Ability Marine Pilot Control to execute the necessary intelligent manoeuvring and control commands.
These systems and Keppel O&M’s own vessel operations technologies were retrofitted on the 32-m harbour tugboat Maju 510, owned and operated by Keppel O&M’s joint-venture company Keppel Smit Towage.
“We are proud to have reached another milestone representing a significant step towards autonomous shipping, in close collaboration with Keppel,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports.
“The intent of this technology is to relieve the crew of tasks that can be automated, enabling them to perform at their best during critical periods and enhancing the overall safety and productivity of marine operations. This trial also confirms the possibility for application of remote and autonomous technology to other vessel types.”
The harbour tug project is funded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore as part of its Singapore Maritime R&D Roadmap 2030 which charts the nation’s key focus areas for the development of the maritime industry. The second phase of the project, scheduled for late 2021, will see the vessel perform autonomous collision avoidance tasks while under remote supervision.