Autonomous Collision Avoidance Tested Using Damen Crew Boat
A series of autonomous operations trials were held on the North Sea on March 19 and 20, about five nautical miles off the coast of Den Helder in the Netherlands. SeaZip 3, a Damen Fast Crew Supplier 2610 Twin Axe vessel from SeaZip Offshore Services, was outfitted with collision avoidance technology and took part in several nautical scenarios to determine how the vessel would interact with seagoing traffic.
The trials are part of the Joint Industry Project Autonomous Shipping, a two-year research project started in 2017. 11 scenarios were run in which SeaZip 3 interacted with two other vessels, Octans, a training vessel of the Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz, and Guardian, an Emergency Towage Vessel operated by The Netherlands Coastguard. These scenarios are the outcome of research by Technical University of Delft, MARIN and TNO. The scenarios were first tested in the MARIN simulator center in Wageningen.
The autonomous system provided by Robosys Automation, connected to the onboard autopilot and machinery control system, performed evasive maneuvers safely, but it was concluded that further development of autonomous systems is needed, to cope with complex marine traffic situations in a more efficient way.
The Joint Industry Project is supported by a broad consortium of stakeholders: shipping companies SeaZip Offshore Service, Fugro, and the Dutch Pilotage organization, Damen Shipyards and Feadship, naval architects DEKC Maritime, technology suppliers Bosch Rexroth, Robosys Automation, knowledge institutions MARIN, TNO, Technical University of Delft, classification society Bureau Veritas, maritime academies Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz – NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam Mainport Institute (STC & Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) and project coordinator Netherlands Maritime Technology. The Dutch government is represented by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Ministry of Defence (Defence Materiel Organisation). It is partly funded by the TKI-Maritiem allowance of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
SeaZip 3 flies the Netherlands flag and is classed by Bureau Veritas.