Wärtsilä's strong commitment to developing the technologies, the system reliability, and the essential designs to enable the viability of autonomous shipping is again emphasized through its participation in an important research program. Together with other leading marine sector and information & communication technology (ICT) companies, Wärtsilä is supporting a project aimed at creating the world's first autonomous marine transport system.
The initial focus will be on developing a fully autonomous system for the Baltic Sea by the year 2025, with cargo ships and freight transportation being the first pilot applications. The program is being largely financed by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for innovation and the ecosystem platform is being handled by DIMECC, a leading breakthrough oriented co-creation ecosystem provider. The main corporate investors in the program, apart from Wärtsilä, are Rolls-Royce, Cargotec, Ericsson, Meyer Turku, and Tieto.
"This is an important and ambitious project and we are very happy to be involved. Wärtsilä is contributing its technological know-how and experience and fully supports the project's goals. We are happy to work and cooperate with other industry players for the ultimate benefit of the industry as a whole," says Mikael Simelius, Vice President, Marketing, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.
Wärtsilä believes that artificial intelligence, robotics, and remote connections will play an important role in the shipping industry's future as a means towards increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs. The company is committed to developing a strong digital offering and has recently acquired Eniram, a leading provider of energy management and vessel performance systems, as well as launching its updated Wärtsilä Nacos Platinum platform of navigation, automation, and control systems.
Wärtsilä also recently published its 'Visions for future shipping', which outlines various scenarios that could shape the way that shipping companies operate in the future. System autonomy is one of several future scenarios covered in the concepts. "Our participation and contribution to important research programs, such as this one promoting autonomous shipping, highlights Wärtsilä's ongoing development work to enable these visions to become eventual reality," adds Simelius.