Fish farm support ship completes complex autonomous voyage in Norway Ship’s crew

A fish farm support vessel has successfully completed one of the most complex autonomous sea voyages ever undertaken off the coast of Norway.

Technology group Kongsberg Maritime led the test by demonstrating various remote-controlled and autonomous technologies on board Eidsvaag Pioneeran Eidsvaag AS cargo ship, built in 2013, used to supply fish feed to offshore fish farms along the Norwegian coast.

The test, part of the AUTOSHIP project under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research program, involved a 13-hour voyage from Averøy, Norway, to a marine fish farm and back, covering around 160 nautical miles.

The demonstration featured a combination of remote and autonomous operations during the various phases of the voyage. For safety and regulatory reasons, crew members were present on board during the test. The ship undocked autonomously, navigated out of port onto the open sea, traversed a route between islands while avoiding other ships, and reached the Ocean Farm 1 fish farm, where it performed various maneuvers using its Dynamic Positioning (DP) system. The ship then navigated back along the route and completed automatic docking.

Throughout the process, the captain and engineer on land occasionally monitored and steered the ship remotely from Kongsberg’s Remote Operating Center (ROC) on land in Ålesund.

Photo courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime

Technologies provided by Kongsberg included automatic undocking and automatic docking, situational awareness system, autonomous navigation system, intelligent machine system, connectivity and cybersecurity system, remote operations center, and dynamic positioning. Advanced simulations and cloud-based communication systems were used to ensure safe and optimal ship operation.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research program, the AUTOSHIP project aims to accelerate the transition to greener and safer maritime transport by testing and advancing key technologies related to fully autonomous navigation systems, intelligent machine systems, self-diagnosis, forecasting, operational planning and communication technology with robust cyber security. In collaboration with Kongsberg and Eidsvaag AS, the project brings together expertise from SINTEF, Norway’s leading research organisation, and the University of Strathclyde in the UK.

The second AUTOSHIP demonstration is scheduled for June 1st and will involve a barge navigating a section of Belgium’s inland waterway network in Wintam.

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