Wärtsilä Voyage today took the SMM event in Hamburg as the occasion to unveil its new demonstrator and innovation vessel, Ahti. The former German Government fishery patrol vessel was chosen as a target for retrofit technology installations to prove what is already technologically possible for the current fleet, and to create a platform for further innovation and development.
With Ahti, Wärtsilä Voyage has created a seaborne environment where customers can test Wärtsilä Voyage’s own technologies, as well as its technology partners’ solutions. These trials will be conducted in changeable real-life sea conditions that can be difficult and expensive to recreate in a laboratory environment.
The creation of a floating R&D facility also helps Wärtsilä Voyage to cut down the cost and time barriers associated with real-life tests, returning meaningful results on a much lower risk and cost basis than going into full-scale testing directly. Ahti also creates a resource where customers and technology partners can collaborate.
In the first half of 2022, Ahti’s bridge was upgraded with a number of products from Wärtsilä Voyage’s portfolio including NACOS Platinum, SPECS and RS24. The demonstrator vessel has also been fitted with on-the-market partner technology products from machine vision specialist Oscar Navigation and communications specialist Drynet. Soon, further tech will be onboard, making Ahti a bridge to the highly automated, connected, situationally aware and data-enabled future for maritime that Wärtsilä Voyage is aiming to create.
“Technology designed to solve the industry’s biggest challenges must be tested in situations that come as close as possible to real life scenarios,” said Hendrik Bußhoff, head of product – autonomous systems, Wärtsilä Voyage, at the demonstrator vessel. “However, we understand that real world testing is costly and time consuming. Trialing new equipment almost always means testing it on a customer ship which can often bring with it a lot of obligations and questions about documentation, schedules, data ownership and compliance. This is why we invested in Ahti. We now have a resource that will shorten time-to-market, enable us to fail fast and innovate quicker, and compare and understand different technologies outside of controlled environments.”
Sean Fernback, president, Wärtsilä Voyage commented: “In the last few years, the maritime industry has recognized the benefits of digitalization, and how it can help organizations tackle the very biggest challenges that the sector faces. Ahti provides a powerful tool for testing the capabilities and benefits of a tech-enabled vessel and provides us with an environment in which we can see the future, today, on our terms.”