Rolls-Royce announces further R&D for ship intelligence

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(LONDON) — Rolls-Royce on Wednesday announced the latest stage in its research and development plans to make remote and autonomous shipping a reality and reap the benefits of increasing digitalization in the marine industry.

The company is looking to develop partnerships and opportunities with other organizations around the world to, create the capability, competencies and jobs to supply the technology and components required.

On Wednesday, the latest part of that program was confirmed with the announcement, in Finland, of a significant research grant by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. The funding will enable Rolls-Royce to invest further in a research and development center in Turku, Finland. The company plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centers, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.

Mikael Makinen, president of Rolls-Royce Marine, said, “Digitalization will transform the shipping industry in the years ahead, and the time is now right to set out how we are going to make this happen. Over the coming years we need to invest globally to develop the required capabilities and to establish a range of market-ready products and systems to take advantage of what is a significant global market opportunity.

“By combining our world leading capability and knowledge, with a clear plan of where we need to go next, we can work with our customers, governments and our global academic research network to develop and bring to market the advanced technology, products and supporting services needed both ‘on vessel’ and ‘onshore’ to make our vision of future remote and autonomous ships a reality.”

In Norway, the company is currently investing in a range of R&D projects, which will include a new Marine Fleet Management Center in Aalesund, to allow remote monitoring, data analysis, optimization of ships and their onboard equipment. The center will allow Rolls-Royce to extend its Power by the Hour concept, already proven in its aerospace business, to serve the marine sector. Power by the Hour is a new service to be delivered from the Marine division of Rolls-Royce which makes use of "big data" to monitor, plan and perform maintenance and repairs on onboard ship equipment.

About Rolls-Royce and autonomous shipping

Rolls-Royce is pioneering the development of remote-controlled and autonomous ships, applying technology, skills and experience from across its businesses with the ambition of seeing a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade. Rolls-Royce’s experience in secure data analytics across civil aerospace, defence, nuclear power and marine; coupled with its ship intelligence capabilities, design, propulsion and machinery expertise means it is ideally placed to take the lead in defining the future of shipping, in collaboration with industry, academia and government.

The Marine division of Rolls-Royce already has strategic partnerships with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, together with numerous collaboration projects with SMEs and start-ups specializing in novel technologies.

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By Professional Mariner Staff