The autonomous tug is slated for completion in Q4 2020.
Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) has secured a grant of up to $2m from the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) under its Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund (MINT FUND).
Keppel O&M’s unit Keppel Singmarine will develop an autonomous tug to be operated by Keppel Smit Towage. It is expected to be one of Singapore’s first autonomous vessels when the project is completed in Q4 2020.
This follows the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Keppel O&M, MPA and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS) in April 2018 to jointly develop autonomous vessels for a variety of applications including undertaking harbour operations such as channelling, berthing, mooring and towing operations.
The project will involve modifying a 65 MT tug by retrofitting advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, as well as collision detection and avoidance. An onshore command centre will also be set up to remotely control the tug.
As part of the project, Keppel O&M, through its technology arm, Keppel Marine and Deepwater Technology (KMDTech), will work with MPA and TCOMS to develop various technologies and be the system integrator for the autonomous solutions. These technologies include a Digital Twin of the tug to simulate vessel behavior in multiple scenarios and optimise vessel operations, as well as data analytics tools to improve the control and response of the tug. ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) will provide the Approval in Principle for the novel features such as Remote Navigation Control and Autonomous Control System.
Keppel O&M is also partnering M1, another member of the Keppel Group, to leverage M1’s ultra-low latency 4.5G network connectivity to establish standards & data transfer links in terms of latency and reliability for the ship to shore communication, and support mission-critical Internet-of-Things (IoT) maritime applications.
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