NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
German Research Consortium Achieves Milestone in Autonomous Ferry Transportation
By Sea and Coast | 07/08/2023
The Clean Autonomous Public Transportation Network (CAPTN) has achieved a major milestone with the establishment of a groundbreaking control center. This innovative control hub enables remote monitoring and control of the research vessel, catamaran MV Wavelab, heralding a new era in maritime autonomy.
Partners in the CAPTN Förde 5G project, including Kiel University, the City of Kiel, and the Port of Kiel, have collaborated with industry leaders such as AVL Deutschland, HH Vision, Schlepp- und Fährgesellschaft Kiel mbH, and Science Hub Kiel. Anschütz, a leading specialist in navigation and integrated bridge systems, played a pivotal role in this achievement, successfully demonstrating remote control capabilities during an official test run.
The commissioning of the control center marks a significant advancement in the Förde 5G and Förde Areal CAPTN research projects. Through this sophisticated control center, real-time monitoring and remote control of the MV Wavelab were achieved. Trained personnel gained access to a multitude of sensors, drives, cameras, and navigation systems onboard, effectively steering and managing the vessel from the control center.
Integral to this breakthrough is the utilization of a digital twin, a cutting-edge technology that simulates data from both existing and experimental onboard sensors and systems. This digital twin not only fosters collaborative research within CAPTN but also lays the foundation for future endeavors aimed at realizing the autonomous passenger ferry of tomorrow.
The control center boasts a comprehensive array of advanced features, including a large monitor displaying a real-time 360-degree view from camera systems. Multi-function displays provide access to essential navigation tools such as the navigation radar and the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). Additionally, a flexible display of navigation data and a dedicated user interface for control and propulsion systems are integral components of this state-of-the-art control center.
A high-performance maritime data communication infrastructure, powered by a 5G mobile network and a Wifi6 network from ADDIX GmbH, ensures seamless and uninterrupted data transmission between the control center and the ship. This infrastructure is paramount to guaranteeing the safety of individuals onboard, facilitating fast and reliable data exchange.
With the successful commissioning of the control center, CAPTN has achieved level 2 on the autonomy scale devised by the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (ZKR). This classification signifies partial automation, where remote control is permissible under specific conditions. Notably, the skipper retains the ability to perform dynamic navigation tasks and intervene in emergency scenarios.
Expressing enthusiasm for this groundbreaking accomplishment, Daniel Sommerstedt, CAPTN project manager at Anschütz, highlighted the strides towards semi-autonomous and autonomous navigation within the digital test field in Kiel.
The CAPTN Förde 5G project has procured €4 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV). This investment underscores the significance of this achievement and paves the way for further advancements in autonomous maritime transportation.