Autonomous Shipping Test Site Opens in Norway
Norway’s newest autonomous shipping test site is now officially open and ready to support the development of high-tech autonomous maritime solutions.
Building on Norway’s leading position within the burgeoning autonomous shipping segment, the new test-bed in Horten is designed to offer Norwegian and international organizations a convenient, safe, non-congested space to trial new technology and vessels as the third of its kind in the country and the fourth such approved area in the world. Its introduction follows the September 2016 opening of the world’s first autonomous shipping test-bed on the Trondheimsfjord in Norway.
The area is specially designated for autonomous trials by the Norwegian Maritime Administration and the Norwegian Coastal Administration.
According to KONGSBERG, who has worked closely with the town of Horten, DNV GL, FFI (Norwegian Defense Research Establishment) and the University College of South East Norway to establish the new site, the Trondheim and Horten testing areas are important resources for its ongoing technology development for projects such as the YARA Birkeland all electric, autonomous containership, the Hrönn, autonomous offshore support vessel and marine robotics technology.
These and other autonomous vessel projects are set to transform many aspects of shipping and offshore operations, by introducing safer, more environmentally friendly and cost-effective modes of transport and working at sea, KONGSBERG said.
“With critical developments in maritime autonomy technology and software taking place at Kongsberg Maritime in Horten, the location of the new test-bed will support a number of ground-breaking technology projects,” said Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime. “The move towards greater autonomy at sea has the potential to transform maritime operations and while the technology has now been proven, we look towards the regulations. Establishment of these test-beds are an important step, as it shows close co-operation between the people making the technology and vessels and the organizations developing the rules that will allow them to operate.”
KONGSBERG said its use of the fjord at Horten for safe autonomous vessel testing during 2017 has been integral to the area receiving its official status as a test-bed. In August, KONGSBERG and FFI demonstrated high-speed autonomous obstacle avoidance using the ODIN Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) fitted with the cutting-edge K-Mate autonomy controller solution. In November, the GEBCO-NF Alumni Team’s entry to the $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE underwent technology readiness tests in the area. The team’s unique SEA-KIT USV/AUV concept uses the K-Mate solution for surface navigation and tracking of a KONGSBERG HUGIN AUV.