ABB has launched remotely operated passenger ferry

Leading technology company, ABB on Wednesday has enabled a successful trial of remotely operated passenger ferry. Suomenlinna II and tested the enhancement of ship operations with technologies that are already available for nearly any kind of vessel.

Ice-class passenger ferry Suomenlinna II was remotely piloted through test area near Helsinki harbor, proving that human oversight of vessels from anywhere is achievable with today’s technologies.

With this trial in the Finnish capital’s port, ABB and Helsinki City Transport took the next step in autonomous shipping, the company said in a statement.

Suomenlinna II was retrofitted with ABB’s new positioning system, ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control, and steered from a control center in Helsinki. The breakthrough trial represents a crucial step toward increasing the maritime industry’s acceptance of autonomous operation systems.

In the remote trial, the world’s first for an existing passenger ferry, ABB successfully tested the enhancement of ship operations with technologies that are already available for nearly any kind of vessel.

Speaking after the voyage, Captain Lasse Heinonen said, “The progress we have made with the remote trial has been remarkable”. The trial took place during the vessel’s off hours, away from shore with no passengers aboard, in an area free of other vessels.

Peter Terwiesch, President, Industrial Automation division, ABB said, “Advanced automation solutions from ABB are making the previously impossible possible for a wide range of sectors, including shipping, which is actively searching for technologies that can rapidly deliver more efficiency and better safety.”

Global demand for maritime transport has grown by 30% over the past decade, according to the International Chamber of Shipping data, while more than 10 billion tons of cargo are now transported by sea every year.

As vessels become more electric, digital and connected than ever before, ABB is able to equip seafarers with existing solutions that augment their skillsets. Suomenlinna II normally voyages from Helsinki to Suomenlinna fortress, the UNESCO World Heritage site on a nearby island.

As vessels become more electric, digital and connected than ever before, ABB is able to equip seafarers with existing solutions that augment their skillsets. In this way, we are enhancing the overall safety of marine operations,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, Marine & Ports unit, ABB.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally.

Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products.

As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

This year ABB also collaborated with Cochin Shipyard, the shipbuilding and maintenance facility in India to deliver an integrated power and automation package.

The ferry, originally built in 2004, is fitted with the company’s icebreaking Azipod electric propulsion system. Additionally, the ferry was retrofitted with ABB Ability Marine Pilot Vision situational awareness solution in 2017.

In line with ABB’s “Electric. Digital. Connected.” approach that envisages shipping’s digital and connected future, these ferries will have the capability to leverage the ABB Ability Remote Diagnostic Services for Marine, should they opt to join ABB’s global Collaborative Operations network.

The network uses remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable predictive maintenance, planned interventions or even remote technical support, supported from seven existing shore-based ABB Marine & Ports’ Collaborative Operations Centers staffed by ABB experts. ABB Ability is the company’s leading offering of digital solutions and services.

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