Wärtsilä Advances Automated Vessel Manoeuvring


An important step in automated procedures has been taken by technology group Wärtsilä after announcing its latest innovation SmartPredict, which aims to provide safer and more efficient vessel operations by reducing the risks associated with manoeuvring.

The system is contributing towards the Wärtsilä's efforts to achieve autonomous vessel manoeuvring and has been developed by the company’s Dynamic Positioning unit to display the vessel’s predicted future position and heading.

It uses proven dynamic positioning (DP) analysis algorithms to evaluate forces affecting the vessel to provide advanced motion prediction.

SmartPredict also features a configurable prediction time display.

Most conventional prediction systems are able to utilise only basic input parameters, and thus offer limited usability.

But Wärtsilä’s SmartPredict software module utilises all of the parameters used for automated control by the DP and adjusts them for the motion characteristics of the specific vessel.

Such inputs include the vessel’s current position and heading, as well as its velocity and rate of turn and all associated accelerations.

Also taken into consideration are the manual commands from the coordinated control joystick, and environmental input from single or multiple onboard wind sensors.

These factors are all continuously evaluated to provide a constant updating of the vessel’s path.

Maik Stoevhase, Director, ANC & Integrated Systems, Electrical & Automation, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, said: “Allowing the operator to see into the future enables smarter and safer ship handling decisions to be made, thus lowering the risk of accidents occurring.  We see SmartPredict as being an important step towards more automated procedures, such as docking, and eventually fully autonomous vessel manoeuvring.”

Wärtsilä's VP of Commercial Operations for the Dynamic Positioning unit recently said that trends are pointing towards harbour tugs becoming one of the first autonomous vessel classes.

Learn more about autonomous systems and the latest developments at PTI's Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference from April 19-20, 2017, in London, UK.

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