Wärtsilä delivers autonomous docking system to Seaspan

Wärtsilä delivers autonomous docking system to Seaspan

Wärtsilä has delivered its autonomous docking system, SmartDock, to Seaspan to progress self-docking and undocking operations.

Wärtsilä’s SmartDock system enables Seaspan to undertake autonomous docking procedures even in adverse conditions, when currents can approach 2 knots.

According to Wärtsilä, SmartDock ensures consistent, safe, and predictable docking and undocking operations every time, minimising the need for significant engagement from the vessel’s skipper.

The scope of work signed by Wärtsilä in 2021 involves delivering the autonomous SmartDock technology, as well as track construction for autodocking at the Canadian ports of Tilbury, Duke Point, and Swartz Bay.

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Notably, the SmartDock system employs an advanced Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) estimator, combining sensor measurements from various sources, such as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Wärtsilä’s laser sensor Cyscan AS, to calculate precise position and rate estimates of the vessel’s motion.

This data is then compared to the vessel’s pre-programmed optimum trajectory, and the sophisticated controller assigns propulsion and steering orders, assuring safe and consistent autonomous docking and undocking procedures.

The Seaspan Trader cargo vessel was reportedly commissioned, with the Seaspan Transporter cargo vessel slated to be commissioned in late 2023/early 2024. These SmartDock-equipped vessels will operate in the seas of British Columbia, Canada.

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Klaus Egeberg, Director, Dynamic Positioning, Wärtsilä ANCS, said: “Wärtsilä is excited to continue supporting Seaspan and build on an already strong working relationship.

“We look forward to the potential implementation of the SmartDock product across some other vessels in Seaspan’s ferry fleet, further advancing the automation and efficiency of maritime operations.”

Alex Treharne, Integration Engineer, Seaspan, stated: “Seaspan is proud to lead the charge in this technological advancement in vessel manoeuvring. The integration of Wärtsilä’s SmartDock system into Seaspan Trader exemplifies our unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in maritime operations.”

This month, Wärtsilä created an ultra-low emissions version of its Wärtsilä 31DF engine that can reportedly reduce methane emissions by 41 per cent.

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