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Aker Arctic tests autonomous ship model

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JUNE 15, 2018 — Aker Arctic Technology Inc. has successfully tested an autonomous ship model in its Helsinki, Finland, ice model test laboratory.

In the demonstration test, the ship model was able to detect obstacles in the ice tank utilizing onboard sensors, maneuver around them without operator input and moor itself automatically to a target pier.

The test was carried out in ice-free waters. While Aker Arctic’s ice laboratory is normally used to test icebreaking vessels, it is also an excellent facility to develop and test the technology, sensors, algorithms and propulsion control systems being developed for autonomous vessels under harsh environmental conditions.

The wireless model used in the test is equipped with battery powered propulsion units, data transfer to the “shore facility,” and an autonomous navigation system that routes the vessel around obstacles detected by the onboard sensors.

The various components are connected using Aker Arctic’s newly developed software DIVEC (Distributed Intelligent Vessel Components), a network framework that provides a modern protocol for connecting devices and transferring necessary data between them.

A simple, powerful networking architecture, originally designed for the ice load monitoring system to transmit messages between different systems. DIVEC provides an extensible and adaptable infrastructure that allows interfacing with third party systems and components.

The technology used in the autonomous ship model tests in the laboratory is also adaptable to semi and full scale prototypes.

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