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Finland aims to take lead on unmanned ship development

Written by Nick Blenkey
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SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 — Finland is stepping up its efforts to take a lead in the development of unmanned ships by creating what’s described as “an ecosystem for autonomous marine transport.”

The objective is to create the world’s first autonomous marine transport system in the Baltic Sea, with fully autonomous by 2025. The first pilots and applications in months to come are cargo ships and freight.

Almost 80 companies are in the ecosystem, via the Finnish Marine Industries Association.

The largest investors are Cargotec, Ericsson, Meyer Turku, Rolls-Royce, Tieto, and Wärtsilä. About half of the ecosystem’s funding comes from Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

“The industry created this idea and objective. There is increasing global competition on autonomy. We have to be quick. This is why we selected DIMECC to run and implement the ecosystem,’ says Rolls-Royce Marine SVP Sauli Eloranta.

“This is an ambitious objective which can lead to new business. Tekes is willing to share risks with private sector by funding such an ecosystem. We welcome all innovators in the world to test their ides in Finland. We have the best platforms here,” says Tekes’ senior advisor Rauli Hulkkonen.

“This ecosystem is a continuum to our long-term and determined R&D&I facilitation, where we boost cross-industrial innovations. Finland has world-class marine technologies and ICT competencies. By combining these in a novel way the objective can be reached,” says Harri Kulmala, CEO of DIMECC Ltd.

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