Europe preparing unmanned cargos of the future

Project-MUNINCargo fully robotized by the year 2030, it is the objective of the European project MUNIN (Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks) 8 the project partners gathered in Hamburg to discuss different technical tracks explored by the participants. Automation of engine control, detection of obstacles, checkpoints on the ground, communications protocols, but also anticipation of breakdowns, solutions must be developed in many fields of study before the first automatic cargo ships can sail the ocean safely.

Rolls-Royce Marine table on the first automatic cable ferries as early as 2015


The different working groups of the MUNIN project.

Still, the will take time before these ships without Captain crossed Cape Horn. Rolls-Royce, one of the eight members of the MUNIN project unveiled its roadmap the meeting of Hamburg from September 10. The English industrialist, the division “Marine” with 9,000 people and designed 30,000 vessels, table on the automatic arrival of first bins between 2015 and 2020. Coasters could take the sea between 2020 and 2025, while high seas semi-automatic cargo will take the sea before perfect robots between 2025 and 2035. Knowing that the cost of personnel is the second factor of cost of a cargo ship, after fuel, shipowners will quickly follow if industrialists and researchers are able to solve the technical challenges posed by the autonomous vessel.


L’analyse de l’environnement du navire avec de multiples capteurs via les algorithmes d’Aptomar.

Among the interesting challenges, that of the automatic “vigie”. Unable to let the naval robot go hit the buoys and other careless boaters. It is the Aptomar Norwegian who works on this issue. His approach is to merge the data from multiple sensors to give the robots and operators on the ground a situation real-time vision.
Software correlates with those of cameras, radar image but also mapping, the direction of the wind, etc. This specialist estimates that with current sensors, it is already possible to do better than with a ship with a human crew.

Prerequisite: improving the reliability of the engines

There is one area where the robot will have to do better, much better than the human before letting the robots take to the sea, it is that of reliability. As there will be more crew, technician or mechanic, will have to improve the reliability of the engines to not see these ships running aground on our coasts the slightest fault. In addition to the redundancy of equipment, researchers from the University of Wismar in Germany technologies rely on the Big Data approach. They put multiples engine pressure and Ultrasonic sensors to track real-time operation of the engine. The idea is to detect the warning signs of many failures before they occur. The researchers at the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML work Meanwhile the pilotage of the ship depending on the weather. They are developing algorithms that will transform the old sea Wolf robot and react correctly in case of storm. The software supports both a strategic road to avoid storms, but also a ‘tactical’ pilotage in response to wind, waves.MUNIN-Picture-of-the-Vision

The Technical University of Chalmers in Sweden studied the problem of the control on the ground of hundreds or even thousands of robotic ocean vessels. The future controllers will have to support these autonomous vessel movements. It will have to manage these fleets safely. Need to develop software that will allow them to refer these drones, but also to display their data in case of problems. By 2015, the MUNIN project reaches its conclusion, having cleared the technological basis of the vessel autonomous and put in place a simulators. Europe is not the only one working on this naval ucav concept.
The United States also conduct such a project under the auspices of DARPA, but the purpose is quite different. The American ACTUV (ASW Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) will have the task to automatically track enemy submarines on behalf of the Navy.


Translation : Bing Translator

Source : “MUNIN workshop at SMM”, September 19, 2014

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