Singapore is one of the world's busiest seaports and was one of the most difficult proving grounds for the technology.
Efforts to create autonomous and remote control of ships are ramping up, with a greater emphasis on testing the technology in congested ports and seaways. In Singapore, ABB tested a remote control tugboat with the Singapore shipyard Keppel Offshore & Marine.
To test the remote operation of a tugboat in the port, the Maritime and Port Authority's Maritime Innovation Lab deployed a traffic control Centre.
The Maju 510, a 105-foot-long tug, received technology upgrades from ABB and Keppel O & M. Keppel O & M's joint venture firm, Keppel Smit Towage, owns and operates the vessel. The ship's sensors provided a digital understanding of the situation, while the system executed the intelligent commands required for maneuvering and control.
The project's second phase, which will be completed by the end of 2021, will focus on how to avoid a collision while under remote surveillance and with the ship undertaking autonomous evasive maneuvers.
“In the development of autonomous tugs, Keppel Smit Towage is aiding Keppel O&M and ABB. As a towing firm, we use technology to grow our business and better serve our customers. Using the tugboat Maju 510, we can gain knowledge and provide feedback on how autonomous operations can assist the tugboat captain and crew by simplifying navigation and allowing them to focus". Romi Kaushal, CEO of Keppel Smit Towage, expressed his thoughts. "This has the potential to greatly increase operational dependability and efficiency."
They mentioned the transit route which is completed autonomously and under remote surveillance, allowing the personnel on board to rest and be attentive when the towing job begins. Holding the position with remote support can also allow the crew onboard to relax instead of performing regular activities that can be completed more efficiently or with the help of a remote crew.
The shipping and port agencies are supporting the Singapore Maritime R&D Roadmap 2030 project.