E.U. Project Targets Close-Proximity Autonomous Navigation

Kongsberg drones
Kongsberg drones

By The Maritime Executive 05-31-2018 09:40:32

An E.U.-funded research project is underway to develop technical solutions for safer navigation in close proximity of other stationary or moving vessels and objects.

The Hull to Hull (H2H) project was established in November 2017, and with the help of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), EGNOS and Galileo, aims to help mariners in taking correct navigation decisions and create a fundamental basis for autonomous vessel operations: specifically targetting solutions that can enhance safety in busy waters and during close maneuvering. 

The project is coordinated by Kongsberg Seatex, a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime. Project partners include SINTEF Ocean and SINTEF Digital for broad research-based expertise; KU Leuven, a leading European university and expert on inland waterways navigation; and Mampaey Offshore Industries, a Dutch company specialized in towing, berthing and mooring systems.

H2H focuses on solutions for measuring the location and orientation of a vessel and creating a 3D digital twin representing the vessel’s hull, which is linked to a coordinate system, e.g. WGS84. This data will then be used as input to an autonomy controller. H2H will also support manual navigation, providing reliable input for the captain or navigator to make better informed decisions. This could potentially be achieved by, for example, displaying the digital twin on the ECDIS or other display systems.

The project will also research specific needs related to auto-mooring and inland waterways, perform lab testing of various sensors and technologies and develop test scenarios for demonstrations scheduled for 2019 and 2020 in Norway’s Trondheimsfjorden, in Rotterdam harbor and inland waterways in Belgium.

The project has received funding from the European GNSS Agency under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.