Port of Antwerp reached a new milestone with the introduction of a fully automatic sounding boat that employs unique technology. The vessel, named the Echodrone, is a prototype that is currently being developed to supplement the other operational sounding boat, the Echo.
Both of these carry out measurements of the water depth everywhere in the port so as to guarantee safe passage for shipping. The cloud-based technology – a first – has been developed in partnership between the Port Authority and dotOcean and is only one of the many initiatives being taken by the Port Authority in the field of digital innovation.
A press release said that innovation is a powerful response to today's fast-changing world and so is a main component of the future vision of Antwerp Port Authority. In collaboration with the port community the Port Authority is constantly working to develop new technologies and methods and to incorporate them in its operations.
"As a world-class player we as a port aim to be a leader in developing innovative concepts," explains Piet Opstaele, Innovation Enablement Manager at Antwerp Port Authority. "In this way we are laying the foundations for the 'smart port' of the future in which digital technologies are used to make the land-based and water-based operations more flexible, responsive and efficient."
Wim Defevere, Senior technical manager nautical access of the Antwerp Port Authority: ”The Echodrone is currently undergoing extensive trials. Once these have been completed it will be based in the Deurganck dock where it will be fully operational alongside the Echo to measure the water depth of the available berths at the busiest of the tidal quays for handling containers.”