Maritime start-up Flying Ship Technologies has signed an agreement with PROBOTEK to jointly integrate PROBOTEK’s systems and software into Flying Ship’s ’flying’ vessels, to enable autonomous and semi-autonomous ship operations using real-time vessel system monitoring and reactive collision avoidance.
Flying Ship’s ground effect vessel design is based on Soviet-era Ekranoplan technology, which leverages the lifting forces created by the horizontal surfaces of an aircraft wing when close to the ground to reduce drag. The company is applying these aerodynamic principles to create unmanned maritime shipping vehicles that ‘fly’ just over the water.
These ground effect, or Wing-in-ground (WIG), craft are covered by IMO safety guidelines, which note that while their operation shares a high degree of commonality with aircraft, “they operate with other waterborne craft and must necessarily utilize the same collision avoidance rules as conventional shipping.”
As such, the Flying Ship will be subject to the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs), where PROBOTEK’s technology will be applied to manage collision avoidance tasks.
“PROBOTEK’s experience integrating operationally proven artificial intelligence and BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) control operation systems will be a critical asset for Flying Ships,” said Flying Ship CEO, Bill Peterson.
“The Flying Ship team is one hundred percent committed to safety and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through our all-electric vessels. We look forward to working with PROBOTEK to integrate secure and reliable navigation systems that are interoperable with the European maritime logistics network.”
The two companies plan to work together on pursuing customers and investors as they look to move ahead with development of a Flying Ship in Greece, to support cargo delivery between the Greek islands.
“Our ultimate goal is to enhance connectivity among the Greek islands and the mainland through safer and more reliable on-time cargo delivery to an increased number of delivery points,” said Flying Ship Executive Vice President and COO, Gus Bateas.