ESA joins One Sea alliance

An illustration of an unmanned ship concept. Credit: Rolls-Royce

Representing a major vote of confidence for autonomous shipping, the European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) pledging its support for the One Sea alliance. 

“We expect that the current initiative, thanks to the engagement of the partners, will foster the emergence of innovative space-based downstream solutions addressing the key challenges of the future maritime and shipping sector,” said Rita Rinaldo, head of the ESA Institutional Projects Section.  

The agreement between ESA and One Sea co-ordinator of Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation (DIMECC) entails leveraging ESA’s space-based technology Advanced Research in Telecommunication Systems (ARTES) programme to support the aim of autonomous shipping, with explicit reference to DIMECC’s Jaakonmeri autonomous vessel testing area off Finland.  

“Expertise from different disciplines is necessary to transform today’s connectivity capabilities for tomorrow’s needs, and this MoI represents a unique opportunity to develop applications and services that leverage assets on the ground and in space,” said One Sea head Jukka Merenluoto. 

The news follows sign-ups from Inmarsat and NYK Group research subsidiary Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) and The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) this year, joining ABB, Cargotec, Ericsson, Kongsberg Maritime, Tieto, WärtsiläFinnpilot Pilotage, RINA, Finnish Marine Industries, Shipbrokers Finland, Finnish Port Association, and the Finnish Shipowners’ Association.