Rolls-Royce has signed a deal to supply its first automatic crossing system to Norwegian ferry company Fjord1.
The system, the first of its kind, will control two new double-ended battery ferries as they cross between Anda and Lote on the 1330 km long E39 which connects communities along the west coast of Norway.
Battery powered ferries have strict yearly limits on energy consumption as part of the commercial agreement between the ferry operator and the government. Automatic systems ensure consistent behaviour during the journey and hence predictable energy consumption.
The automatic crossing system ensures safe and energy-efficient transit back and forth by automatically controlling the vessel’s acceleration, deceleration, speed and track. Two energy-efficient Rolls-Royce Azipull thrusters respond adaptively to environmental conditions to ensure optimal behaviour and maximise efficiency.
The Captain will supervise the automatic system and intervene using traditional manoeuvring systems if needed. In this first delivery, the Captain will manoeuvre the ferry manually the last few metres to the dock. The next iteration of this product will extend the system to allow automatic berthing. Rolls-Royce is looking to test this in the near future.
If the Captain is not, for some reason, able to take manual control, the system stops the vessel at a safe distance from the quayside and keeps it safely positioned automatically until further action can be taken.
Introducing the new technology Jann Peter Strand, Rolls-Royce, Product Manager, Automatic & Control – Marine said: “The Automatic Crossing System has been developed with the company’s Ship Intelligence programme and will help the customer meet their contractual need to ensure predictable energy consumption optimised for varying environmental conditions. It is a step on the road to realising Rolls-Royce’s goal of remote and autonomous vessels.”
The Automatic Crossing System can be installed as an add-on to any standard Rolls-Royce azimuthing thruster. This means the system can be retrofitted to the existing fleet of ferries around the world.
Construction will take place at the Tersan Shipyard in Turkey, starting in October this year. Norwegian ship design company Multi Maritime has developed the design, in close cooperation with Fjord1.
The vessels are due for delivery in 2017 and will begin operation of 1st January 2018.