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MOL and Rolls-Royce to jointly research autonomous ship technology

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has teamed up with Rolls-Royce to jointly research technology it sees as leading to autonomous ships in the future.

Under the deal MOL will be installing Rolls-Royce’s Intelligent Awareness System (IAS) onboard a ferry operating in the Seto Naikai Inland Sea.

The IAS will detect ships sailing nearby and other obstacles for the provision of swift and accurate ship operation. The system fuses data from a range of sensors with information from existing ship systems; such as AIS and radar. 

Kenta Arai,a director at MOL , said: “Ferry Sunflower operates in some of the most congested waters in the world and will provide an opportunity to test rigorously Rolls-Royce’s intelligent awareness system.

“This is a significant challenge to front-line technology leading to our ultimate goal of autonomous sailing.”

Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, director digital & systems – Marine, said: “We are exploring and testing how to combine sensor technologies effectively and affordably. Pilot projects such as this allow us to see how they can be best adapted to the needs of the customer and their crews so that our product effectively meets the needs of both.”

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