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Equipped with battery powered propulsion units, the wireless model used in the test was able to detect obstacles in the ice tank utilising onboard sensors, maneuver around them without operator input and moor itself automatically to a target pier.

The test was carried out at Aker Arctic’s ice model test laboratory in Helsinki, Finland.

The autonomous ship model is features 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 Distributed Intelligent Vessel Components (DIVEC), a specially developed network framework that provides a modern protocol for connecting devices and transferring necessary data between them.

Aker Arctic says its ice laboratory is normally used to test icebreaking vessels, however, the facility is also said to be ideal for developing and testing the technology, sensors, algorithms and propulsion control systems being developed for autonomous vessels under harsh environmental conditions.

According to Finnish Aker Artic, 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 said to be adaptable to semi and full-scale prototypes.

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