The technology group Wärtsilä opened its Acceleration Centre in Singapore on Tuesday (Oct 16). This purpose-built centre promotes innovation and collaboration with industry, academia, and local partners to strengthen and develop Singapore’s maritime ecosystem. The opening marks a key milestone following the agreement signed between Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Wärtsilä in April 2018 to collaborate in areas of intelligent vessels, connected smart port operations, cyber-physical security, and digital acceleration with start-ups. Wärtsilä will also address cybersecurity challenges in connected maritime operations by launching its Maritime Cyber Centre of Excellence as part of the Singapore Acceleration Centre.
“The setup of the Wärtsilä Acceleration Centre in Singapore will support our aim to be the global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent, and add to the vibrancy of our maritime innovation eco-system. I am pleased that Wärtsilä and PSA Marine are working together to develop and test the autonomous harbour tug as an initiative under the MPA Living Lab. Such projects will enable us to develop new concepts and capabilities that support more efficient operation and regulation of our future port,” said Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health, who was the guest of honour at the Centre launch event.
Wärtsilä IntelliTug project
The first project to be co-created at the Wärtsilä Acceleration Centre is the Wärtsilä IntelliTug. The project to develop a harbour tug with autonomous navigation is being carried out together with MPA and PSA Marine, a leading marine services provider. The vessel will be capable of performing a range of routine missions designed to further improve tug safety and efficiencies, while reducing operator workload and pressures in one of the world’s most demanding harbour environments.
The IntelliTug project will involve a combination of technologies, innovations and capabilities within Wärtsilä’s vast portfolio, to generate a tailored solution for Singapore’s unique situation. It will deliver tangible customer value and provide a notable contribution to regional sustainability goals. This will include a new-to-market near-field wideband radar and real-time video analytics, integrated with a light-weight human-centric mission control system to supervise the close quarters and alert users on collision avoidance using adaptive, dynamic route planning capabilities. In 2019, together with MPA and PSA Marine, Wärtsilä will test-bed the IntelliTug concept on an existing tugboat in Singapore’s actual operational port.
“We are always scouting for innovative ideas to enhance our Tug Masters’ situational awareness so that they can navigate the busy port waters in Singapore more safely. To achieve this objective, we have teamed up with MPA and Wärtsilä to explore and test-bed new technologies, turning ideas into reality,” says Peter Chew, Managing Director of PSA Marine.
“In contrast to many existing conceptual ideas in the industry, with IntelliTug we are creating a technology that will find a real application in the commercial maritime market. We want to help the industry improve by leveraging the use of automation technologies on ships to boost safety and efficiency, while at the same time augmenting the human’s role within the loop. This solution will empower Tug Masters by actively assisting the crew in different situations, allowing them to focus on critical tug operations whilst dynamically maintaining safe distances during navigation and preventing potential collisions. It will also give them additional decision-making support and the ability to work with their colleagues ashore via real time data connection,” comments Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President, Wärtsilä Corporation.
Through implementing these strategic initiatives in the Singapore region, Wärtsilä is establishing critical links between the ecosystem players. In meeting the needs of multiple operational stakeholders simultaneously, it embodies Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine Ecosystem vision.