SINTEF has teamed up with the European Space Organisation (ESA) to develop safe and effective autonomous maritime transport and operations with the help of space technologies.
According to the scientists, making use of outer space technology for maritime navigation could result in increased security at sea and improved coastal monitoring too. The collaboration is part of ESA’s ‘Smart and Uncrewed Shipping’ project.
According to SINTEF, better access to network data and sensors, AI, machine learning and increased digitalization could all pave way for smarter, more automated and autonomous maritime transportation and operations.
Space-based technology such as 5G/satellite telecommunication also allows for broadband communication and this makes data sharing possible in areas that lie outside the reach of land-based systems.
Both SINTEF and ESA are working on advancing PNT (Position, Navigation and Time) technology, a necessary component for being able to navigate autonomous or operate unmanned ships and vessels in narrow waters.
They will make use of Norway’s Trondheim Fjord – the world’s first test area for autonomous ships – to analyze and verify their technologies.
The Trondheim Fjord spans over a total of 17.000 square meters and covers a wide range of landscapes including harbours, inland fjord areas and coasts with rougher seas and weather conditions.
This diversity in the testing area is central to the development of future maritime transportation and operations.
“Having the opportunity to conduct testing in areas with normal maritime traffic, and having a good dialogue with local authorities who allow for such, are some of the largest benefits with this testing area,” says Kay Fjørtoft, senior researcher for SINTEF Ocean’s Energy and Transportation department.
“The area provides a wonderful platform for collaboration with other key players. Through our collaboration with ESA, we will develop new technology that utilizes the space elements for maritime use cases.”
Image and content: ESA/SINTEF Ocean