SAFEMATE project to focus on autonomous operations

A new SAFE Maritime Autonomous Technology (SAFEMATE) project has been launched by DNV, Kongsberg Maritime, Kongsberg Seatex, Bastø Fosen and NTNU, to work on improving the safety and efficiency of autonomous navigation systems and deploy a pilot on an operational ferry, the Bastø VI.

The project will examine technology systems for object detection and collision avoidance that will be required for autonomous operation, while keeping an operator in the loop, as well as the tools and processes needed to assess and assure their safe application.

“For DNV, our focus is on building trust in complex software-controlled systems through testing and verification. Modern vessels are already complex automated systems, but building in autonomous decision support capability increases this complexity immensely,” said Pierre Sames, Group Research and Development Director at DNV.

“This is why it’s vital to develop a framework comprising processes and tools that can assess the safety performance of these systems both in the design stage and throughout operations. As these systems include machine learning modules, they require a new approach to safety assessment and verification.”

The SAFEMATE project will focus on creating a system that is able to detect threats and obstacles in the marine environment, interpret this information, and communicate a solution to an onboard operator. The system will be tested though the use of simulators and with human operators in the loop, and then will be deployed in full-scale trials on the Bastø VI, the Bastø Fosen ferry which operates between Moss and Horten.

SAFEMATE has been partially funded by the Research Counsel of Norway (RCN) through the MAROFF-2 programme.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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