Forget driverless trains, cars, here is awe-inspiring passenger ferry, courtesy ABB
The trial took place during the vessel’s off hours, away from shore with no passengers aboard, in an area free of other ships and boats.
You must have read a lot about driverless vehicles especially cars and trains, including metro trains. However, soon you will be able to ride on a similarly engineered passenger ferry! Yes, it will not have a helmsman steering the ship! And the ferry is not just on the drawing board. ABB and Helsinki City Transport have actually conducted a trial of ice-class passenger ferry Suomenlinna II remotely piloted through a test area near Helsinki harbor last week.
For the remote piloting trial, the ferry departed from Helsinki’s market square, Kauppatori, and Captain Heinonen wirelessly operated Suomenlinna II with ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control through a pre-selected area of Helsinki harbor.
The trial took place during the vessel’s off hours, away from shore with no passengers aboard, in an area free of other ships and boats. While it is now equipped with the new dynamic positioning system, the vessel will continue to operate via a set of conventional onboard controls, with the remote mode deployed during the trial only. Research and development will continue with the ferry and her crew.
Suomenlinna II, originally built in 2004, is fitted with ABB’s icebreaking Azipod electric propulsion system. Additionally, the ferry was retrofitted with ABB Ability Marine Pilot Vision situational awareness solution in 2017. Suomenlinna II operates year-round, undisturbed by the harsh winter conditions that affect all other modes of transport in the Helsinki region.
ABB Ability Remote Diagnostic Services for Marine uses remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable predictive maintenance, planned interventions or even remote technical support, supported from seven existing shore-based ABB Marine & Ports’ Collaborative Operations Centers staffed by ABB experts.
"This breakthrough trial represents a crucial step toward increasing the maritime industry’s acceptance of autonomous operation systems," said ABB.
This year ABB also collaborated with Cochin Shipyard Ltd, the largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility in India to deliver a first-ever integrated power and automation package.
Watch This Ferry Trial Video
Autonomous solutions are expected to transform international shipping in the coming decades as the industry recovers from the downturn caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Global demand for maritime transport has grown by 30 percent over the past decade, according to the International Chamber of Shipping data, while more than 10 billion tons of cargo are now transported by sea every year.