Finnish marine tech heavyweight Wärtsilä successfully tested a long-range remote control system on a platform supply vessel in August.
Using a standard satellite link, operators at the firm’s San Diego, California center sent maneuvering instructions to the dynamic positioning (DP) system of a Gulfmark Offshore ship located off Scotland, 8000 kilometers (nearly 5000 miles) away. Dedicated software added to the DP console was used to put the ship through low- and high-speed maneuvers over four hours of testing.
Wärtsilä developed such capabilities in early 2016, but the tests were the first with an offshore vessel. They are part of the company’s Smart Marine program envisioning a future of autonomous and remotely-controlled ships. “One of the first and most critical hurdles to overcome along the path to the enablement of intelligent shipping is to develop efficient and reliable remote control and monitoring capabilities (…). This test provides a clear indication that we are well on the way to achieving this,” stated Wärtsilä digital chief Andrea Morgante.
Read more about autonomous vessels in our issue#8.