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Rolls-Royce and MacGregor to Explore Autonomous Containerships

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Rolls-Royce and MacGregor, part of Cargotec, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on research and development to explore the impact of developments in autonomy for navigation and cargo systems onboard containerships.

As a leading provider of cargo handling solutions and services for container vessels, MacGregor brings a detailed knowledge of the cargo sector and can provide valuable insights into marine cargo operations and the technology and systems needed to make them as efficient and safe as possible.

Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Director Digital and Systems, said: “Rolls-Royce is pioneering remotely controlled and autonomous ships and believes such a remote controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade and a common sight on the high seas by 2030.

“For the full benefits of such a change to be realised many activities currently done today manually will need to be done autonomously. This research will help us explore how that might be achieved.”

Cargotec has stated that it aims to become “the leader in intelligent cargo handling” in the new era of Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, and has plans to develop with this new age as connectivity enables remote diagnostics and gradually autonomous vessel operations.

Read PTI's technical paper: 'The Smart Ship: The Future of Maritime Intelligence'

It said in a company statement: “We continue to expand our portfolio at MacGregor with new solutions and services, which will be a seamlessly integrated mix of both hardware and software.

“The development of these new services will be based on our approach of identifying where unnecessary industry waste is taking place within the ecosystems and developing solutions that ensure maximised value in our customers' operations.”

Pasi Lehtonen, SVP, Strategy, Business Development and Marketing at MacGregor, added: “MacGregor wants to reshape and transform the industry to make it much more efficient, safer and more sustainable. In the segments where we operate, we see a lot of unnecessary waste in the forms of inefficiency, damage to cargo, and continuously dangerous working conditions.

“Our aim is to minimise this waste from the value network and this collaboration on autonomy for containerships is a good example of where industry leaders work together to transform the industry.”

Rolls-Royce recently announced that it will open its Marine R&D Centre for Remote Control & Autonomous Ships and Artificial Intelligence in Turku, Finland, later this year, marking a milestone in its collaboration with the Autonomous Shipping Alliance.

To keep up with the latest developments in automation, register for PTI's Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference, taking place in London on April 19-20, 2017.

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