The first self-driving cars are already operational, so why should this not be possible in shipping? The development of autonomous sailing is in full swing. It is expected that the port of Rotterdam will welcome the first autonomous vessel in the near future. To ensure that this operation runs in a smart, smooth and safe way, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is responding to this innovation in the form of the ‘Floating Lab Rotterdam’.
FLOATING LAB ROTTERDAM
The driving force of the Floating Lab Rotterdam is the relief vessel RPA3, which the Port Authority has equipped with cameras, measurement equipment and sensors. As well as having the RPA3 available for the Rotterdam harbour master’s operational tasks, we are using it to test new sensors, systems and smart algorithms in the area of Smart Shipping and autonomous sailing.
The concept is simple: as Port of Rotterdam Authority, we want to create partnerships and offer a platform for the development of Smart Shipping. Working in partnership and joining forces will give this development a considerable boost. This will enable us to help those partners developing smart vessels to progress while, at the same time, we get a good idea of how best to prepare our port for this. Floating Lab Rotterdam also offers the opportunity to test a range of smart infra and context information concepts on one of our vessels.
WHAT CAN THE PORT OF ROTTERDAMAUTHORITY OFFER?
With the RPA3, the Port of Rotterdam Authority can offer external partners the opportunity to test sensors, algorithms and/or other equipment in a simple, safe and efficient way. As the RPA3 sails with Port Authority staff, this creates a unique opportunity within the Port of Rotterdam to work safely and to conduct trials on one of the busiest waterways!
We are currently testing our camera system in combination with radar data. In the future, we would like to work with partners to further develop the interaction of our engine management system with the mission management system. We also welcome partners who wish to further expand and test our measurement equipment and sensors in the port.
A fantastic first step that we can expect in the near future is to make our Floating Lab Rotterdam remote controlled!