Testing of remote ship piloting systems got underway at the Port of Kokkola this week, with ESL Shipping’s M/S Viikki transmitting real-time information about the ship’s movements and local conditions to a remote pilotage centre in Turku, Finland.
The systems were used in parallel with normal pilotage as part of the Sea4Value Fairway programme, led by DIMECC, under which companies and universities are exploring the technology, data, practices, and security necessary for remote piloting.
In the test, Viikki was piloted as normal, with the remote piloting techniques tested in parallel with standard operations. Timo Nummi of Finnpilot Pilotage was on the Viikki’s bridge to manage the transmission of the ship’s manoeuvring commands to the remote pilotage centre, while pilot Ville Mattila analysed the status of remote piloting operations. Remote pilot Joakim Kantola monitored and followed the displayed information from screens in Turku.
“It’s great to be involved in testing the remote piloting technology of the future and see what the current technology can do,” said Timo Kosunen, Captain of the Viikki.
The remote piloting technology used a data acquisition and transmission system developed by Brighthouse Intelligence and safety contour-visualisation from Awake.ai. Information about waterway traffic generated by Fintraffic VTS’s radars was transmitted to the remote pilots via an open interface.
“Although various autonomous vessels have been tested in Finland and around the world for a few years now and we are at the international forefront in the development of remote pilotage, the implementation of remote pilotage itself is still years ahead. However, this was an encouraging experiment, and we are now a little closer to that date,” said Sanna Sonninen, Pilotage Director of Finnpilot Pilotage.