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AUTONOMOUS TUG PROJECT TAKES A STEP FORWARD

Thursday, November 7, 2019 

Wärtsilä, in collaboration with PSA Marine, has installed of a first-of-its-kind Dynamic Positioning (DP) system onboard the harbour tug ‘PSA Polaris’, and trials are now being carried out in the Port of Singapore under real-world conditions.

This phase of the project implementation, which has been approved by Lloyd’s Register, moves the bar higher on safety standards for vessel automation and autonomy. The Wärtsilä and PSA Marine IntelliTug project is supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

The new DP system, also known as the Joystick Manoeuvring System (JMS), enables easier and more intuitive control of the tug’s movement. With the push of a button, the tug master can achieve ‘virtual anchoring’ to hold position and/or maintain the tug’s heading. The DP system forms the foundational technology layer for the IntelliTug project, enabling digital navigation instructions to be passed to the vessel’s propulsion systems. The system has received a Statement of Compliance from Lloyd’s Register for the DP notation, thereby endorsing its safety, reliability and performance.

PSA Marine operates harbour and terminal towage in the expanding Port of Singapore. Wärtsilä and PSA Marine are developing and field-testing intelligent vessel capabilities and viable pathways to achieve safe and sustainable autonomous operations. The IntelliTug project can enhance the capabilities of the tug master by autonomously performing a range of routine missions. This will ease the complex demands faced by tug masters on a daily basis.

“The IntelliTug project is about discovering smarter, safer, and more efficient ways of operating a harbour tug. It incorporates human-centric technology, design thinking, and man–machine collaboration. We are on a journey of turning today’s ideas into tomorrow’s reality,” said Bernard Wong, Head of Fleet Management, PSA Marine.

“Safety and productivity are key areas being improved with our autonomous vessel technology. As we develop and learn from these technologies, the values we are able to provide to our customers will grow exponentially, providing a very clear path for businesses needing to compete in the new intelligent maritime industry,” said Paul Kendall, Wärtsilä’s Director of Sales, Dynamic Positioning.

“With the growing interest in repurposing existing vessel systems for autonomous navigation, Lloyd’s Register is taking the lead in making sure that control systems are safe and compliant as both a human-machine interface for vessel control, as well as the foundational layer for digital navigation instructions. We are delighted to advise that Wärtsilä’s DP system has met the requirements of our DP notation,” said Andrew Watt Lloyd’s Register’s Centre of Excellence Manager for South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The PSA Marine tug masters involved in the IntelliTug project underwent simulation and onboard training before commencing actual operating trials onboard PSA Polaris.

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