Smart Marine Future -A Remote-Controlled Ship

Remote-Controlled Ships in our Lifetime? Definitely! Months ago, this was just an idea- a concept in the making, a possibility, and now- with the assistance of artificial intelligence- Wärtsilä has developed Smart Marine ship capabilities through successfully testing the remote control of ship operations.

Remote control and remote monitoring is a step in the right direction to achieving smart and intelligent shipping.  Andrea Morgante- who is the Head of Digital at Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, believes that this first test of a remote-controlled ship is enough proves that the industry is making new strides.

When And Where Did The Testing Take Place?

This is the very first test of its kind-the testing took place in August at the North Sea coast of Scotland. For this trial, Wärtsilä collaborated with Gulfmark Offshore- the U.S. based operator who provided the vessel for the project. Although the testing took place in the North Sea, the remote-control navigating procedure was carried out from the Wärtsilä offices- which are based in San Diego, California (8000km away).

The Testing Procedure Explained

Using Dynamic Positioning and manual joystick control to operate a vessel- the ‘Highland Chieftain’ an 80m platform. Standard bandwidth onboard satellite communication was used, there was no land based technology used to communicate between the vessel and the remote operation station.

The test was conducted for almost four hours, during this period Wärtsilä gave instructions and the vessel was successfully driven through a series of manoeuvres at both high and low speeds. Additional software was temporarily added to the DP system to route data over the vessel’s satellite link to the onshore work station in California.


Concluding Remarks

When Roger Holm- the President of Wärtsilä Marine Solutions- was asked to comment, this is what he had to say: “Wärtsilä is committed to developing technologies that enable a Smart-Marine future. In the age of digitalization, the future Smart Marine ecosystem will involve connecting ‘smart’ vessels with ‘smart’ ports to enable an even more efficient use of resources. It will also reduce the impact on climate while enhancing safety.”

It is anticipated that Wärtsilä’s development of successful remote access to ships will also enable virtual service solutions to customers needing tuning or testing of their DP systems. Furthermore, this solution will be used for other pilot projects, such as automated docking procedures. To know more, watch this Wärtsilä Marine Solutions video