Rolls-Royce publicly demonstrated “world’s first fully autonomous ferry” on a cruise between Parainen and Nauvo, Finland.
The British company entered partnership with the Finnish state-owned Finferries in May, unveiling plans to “optimize ship safety and efficiency” via demonstrating and developing autonomous ferry technologies.
On Monday, December 3, the first fruits of the project, called SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation), were introduced after about 400 hours of trials at sea in Turku archipelago in adapted 53.8-metre Falco car ferry.
The vessel is loaded with myriad sensors, meshed with AI (artificial intelligence) software to help identify and avoid objects in the immediate vicinity.
Sailing from Parainen to Nauvo, Falco ferry operated autonomously, but the return trip was controlled remotely from the command center approx 50 km away (in Turku), thus demonstrating that the ferry can be commandeered by a human.
Additionally, Finferries and Rolls-Royce demonstrated an “autodocking” system which basically enables the vessel to alter its course and speed when coming into port.