Progress made on autonomous tug projects

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Harbour tugs are the workhorses of any productive port operation and, thanks to the latest advances in sensors, cameras, and navigation technology they may soon be able to complete many tasks autonomously.

Towage is one of the first vessel classes to experience the benefits of robotics, as shipowners, port authorities, and technology suppliers work together to improve the efficiency and safety of operations in busy harbours.

Recent trails of intelligent tugs have included Svitzer Hermod, the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel, and RT Borkum, which completed the world’s longest remotely operated commercial tow. And newly announced projects, including Wartsila’s IntelliTug and The Keppel Autonomous Tug, both under the remit of the Port Authority of Singapore, are expected to push automation further to improve situational awareness and smart adaptive manoeuvring.

This is an excerpt of the SAS July edition. To have access to the full article, and more SAS articles, please subscribe here.