85-meter ferry Folgefonn, under the watchful eye of the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA), visited three different ports in a fully autonomous operation without incident. This appears to be the first time a vessel this size has attempted a fully automated dock-to-dock operation.
According to an article in gCaptain, “Once the operator selected the next destination, the operator simply selected the ‘Sail’ command, which authorized computers to take control of the vessel. The ferry was able to leave the dock, maneuver out of the harbor, sail to the next port of call, maneuver through the harbor entrance, and dock alongside the terminal – all without human intervention, Finnish technology group Wärtsilä reports.”
Nils Haktor Bua, Project Manager at NMA, sums up the experience by stating, “There is no doubt that such technology can eventually increase the safety and overall efficiency of the docking and undocking operations for ships.”
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