WARTSILA AND PSA COMPLETE TESTING OF INTELLITUG IN SINGAPORE
The technology group Wärtsilä and PSA Marine have successfully completed initial sea trials for the IntelliTug project. The PSA Polaris, a harbour tug owned and operated by PSA Marine, has been retrofitted with a suite of Wärtsilä technology to enable autonomous navigation. The project is a collaboration between technology provider Wärtsilä, marine services provider PSA Marine, classification society Lloyd’s Register, the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS), and co-funded by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund.
Carried out in Singapore, the trials commenced in September 2019. They verified the IntelliTug’s capability to avoid a variety of obstacles, including virtual and real-life moving vessels. These trials are Singapore’s first for commercial Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) using the MPA MASS regulatory sandbox, which has been established to facilitate the testing of MASS and other autonomous technologies in a safe and controlled environment within the Port of Singapore.
The IntelliTug trials are part of MPA’s MASS initiative, which aims to accelerate the industry’s R&D capability in this field, and validate new MASS-related concepts of operations and technologies. This would enable technology developers, the research community, and maritime stakeholders to capture future MASS-related opportunities.
The PSA Polaris is a 27-metre harbour tug with dual azimuth thruster controls. It has been fitted with a sensor suite, including Wärtsilä’s RS24 near-field high resolution radar and Wärtsilä’s Dynamic Positioning (DP) system, to enable autonomous capabilities. Data collection via the sensors has been ongoing since the start of the project in conjunction with the development of a collision avoidance algorithm.
The project is aimed at developing and field-testing intelligent vessel capabilities and viable pathways towards smarter, safer, and more efficient ways of operating a harbour tug. This is achieved through the provision of human-centric technology, design-thinking, and man–machine collaboration.
During the sea trials, a new smart navigation system – which was developed during the project in cooperation with PSA Marine’s Tug Masters – was used to select destinations for the hundreds of test cases carried out. The system allows the user to easily see the routes plotted, with the avoidance of collisions, in real-time. The smart navigation system also sends track and speed commands to the DP system, which drives the vessel along the route safely at varying speeds up to 10 knots. These manoeuvres are expected to follow set behaviours and meet success criteria to reach the destination.
At all times, the PSA Marine Tug Masters were able to determine if the tests were safe to continue and had full control to abort testing at any time where required.
(Source and image: Wärtsilä/IntelliTug sea trials)
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