The technology group at Wartsila successfully carried out testing of autodocking technology. The tests were carried out with Folgefonn, an 83-metre ferry of Norwegian operator Norled. The ship has hybrid propulsion and is now fitted with Wartsila wireless charging system.
Installation of autodocking on a ferry ship is a world first. The autodocking tests began in January 2018 and finished in April via actual harbor docking trials. The captain did not need to take manual control at any time during the tests.
The procedure means the system is activated around 2,000 metres from the berth and the ship continues at normal transit speed. The new system then performs gradual slowing of speed, and activates line-up and docking maneuver automatically until the vessel is secured at the berth. When the ferry is ready to sail, the system may be used for the departure in identical but reverse manner.
Full maneuvering, including steering and propulsion, is controlled by the software. Manual control is possible at any time. This new automatic function allows the officers to be focused on situational awareness outside the wheelhouse, thus improving safety and reliability of operations.
Norled made Folgefonn available to Wartsila for further development of several Wartsila Smart Marine products. Among the Wartsila technologies installed and tested are company's energy optimization system, hybrid propulsion system, energy storage and wireless inductive battery charging. The ferry can already be operated with automatic vacuum mooring, automatic wireless charging and automated docking.
Last year, the same Wartsila team tested remote controlling of a ship cruising in North Sea from its San Diego CA location. Developing intelligent ships is central to the smart marine ecosystem vision of Wartsila.