Remote Controlled Tugboat Demonstrated
Video: Cutting edge technology allows tug to sail in Rotterdam while the captain controls the vessel remotely from Marseille.
Netherlands based towage services provider Kotug believes unmanned remote controlled ships will be the first step to unmanned autonomous shipping. As a step toward achieving this goal, the company recently demonstrated the sailing of the first remote controlled tugboat over a long distance.
The RT Borkum, sailing in Rotterdam, was controlled from the International Tug, Salvage & OSV Convention and Exhibition (ITS) in Marseille where a Kotug captain took over control via a remote secured internet line and camera images. Real time sensor technology enables the remote control captain to have the situational awareness necessary for safe operation.
Kotug said the demonstration, combined with the drone technology to connect the towline, shows the days of unmanned shipping are drawing closer – commercially and technically.
However, Kotug will have to wait to actually start performing its tasks fully autonomous, as unmanned shipping does not yet comply with current rules and regulations.
The recent demonstration is part of a joint industry project by the sponsors mentioned below. The project is being carried out with no external subsidy.
Stakeholders that contributed to the demo project:
- Rotortug: Owner of the RT Borkum
- Alphatron: Camera visualization and system integration in the consoles
- Veth: Steering and engine control system to take over from local console to remote control and vice versa
- OnBoard: conversion of the steering and engine control signal to internet protocol and vice versa
- M2M Blue: Stable data connection with VPN tunnel (4G and LAN connection combined)
- KOTUG: Project management and supported MAROF student with Thesis “Remote controlled tug boat”