ABB and Keppel O&M Take Marine Vessel Autonomy to the Next Level
Digital technologies from ABB have enabled the harbor tug Maju 510 to become the first vessel in the world to receive Autonomous and Remote-Control Navigation Notation from ABS classification society and first Singapore-flagged vessel to receive the Smart (Autonomous) Notation from MPA.
The notations acknowledge the breakthrough performance of the tug, demonstrating autonomous collision avoidance capabilities in trials conducted at Raffles Reserved Anchorage, off Singapore Island, in March 2022.
Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) is the project lead for the autonomous solutions on the Maju 510, which is owned and operated by Keppel Smit Towage, a member of Rimorchiatori Mediterranei.
The vessel has already distinguished itself as the world’s first vessel to secure the ABS Remote-Control Navigation Notation, following initial remote operation trials at the Port of Singapore in April 2021.
The latest trials verified next level of autonomy, demonstrating automated situational awareness, collision avoidance, and maneuvering control provided by ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Vision and Marine Pilot Control.
The 32-metre-long harbor tug demonstrated its ability to autonomously avoid collisions in various scenarios, such as when two other vessels approach simultaneously on colliding paths and when a nearby vessel behaves erratically. The trials were supervised by an onboard tug master.
Romi Kaushal, Managing Director, Keppel Smit Towage said: “I had the pleasure of being aboard Maju 510 during the collision avoidance trials and experiencing how smoothly the tug performed in autonomous mode.
“What I found particularly impressive was how the digital system identified one or several risks in the tug’s planned path and responded to set the vessel on a new, safer course. The vessel performed as if it was operated by an experienced tug master.”
By allowing the crew to focus on the overall situation rather than on performing specific maneuvers, the ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot product family enhances safety and efficiency in tug operations, which is particularly important in congested shipping hubs like Singapore, the world’s busiest container port.
Furthermore, the systems can be upgraded to enable higher levels of autonomy depending on local regulations and the requirements of the vessel.
In an earlier successful demonstration of ABB’s autonomous technology, the ice-class passenger ferry Suomenlinna II was remotely piloted through the Helsinki harbor. Like Maju 510, Suomenlinna II had been retrofitted with ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Vision and ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control.
Most, if not all vessels could benefit from a higher level of automation for improved safety, efficiency and sustainability of operations. Optimized maneuvering helps to prevent accidents, enhance productivity and reduce fuel consumption and emissions.