New Norwegian Autonomous Shipping Test-Bed Opens

By The Maritime Executive 12-07-2017 04:51:08

An official autonomous shipping test-bed was opened in Horten, Norway, on December 6 to support the development of autonomous maritime operations.

The area is specially designated for autonomous trials by the Norwegian Maritime Administration and the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Kongsberg, DNV GL, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the University College of South East Norway have worked to establish the new test-bed, which is situated adjacent to Kongsberg Maritime’s Horten facility.

The test-bed is the third of its kind in the country and the fourth such approved area in the world. Its introduction follows the opening of the world’s first autonomous shipping test-bed in September 2016, which was located on the Trondheimsfjord in Norway. Another area was designated in October this year at Storfjorden by the Coastal Administration, the Maritime Directorate and a consortium led by GCE Blue Maritime on Møre.

The test-beds in Trondheim and Horten are being used in the development of technology such as the YARA Birkeland all electric, autonomous container ship and the Hrönn, autonomous offshore support vessel as well as marine robotics technology. 

In August, Kongsberg and FFI demonstrated high-speed autonomous obstacle avoidance using the ODIN Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) fitted with Kongsberg's K-Mate autonomy controller solution at Horten, and in November, the GEBCO-NF Alumni Team’s entry to the $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE underwent Technology Readiness Tests in the area. The team’s SEA-KIT USV/AUV concept used the K-Mate solution for surface navigation and tracking of a Kongsberg Hugin AUV. The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is a global competition challenging teams to advance deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration.