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Port of Rotterdam Authority tests autonomous navigation with a floating lab

In order to prepare the Port of Rotterdam Authority for the arrival of autonomous navigation, the Port of Rotterdam Authority has a patrol vessel (RPA3) into a floating lab that collects data, including about the vessel’s operation and power.

By making these data available to the business community and education, further research can be conducted into the introduction of autonomous navigation and the Port of Rotterdam can make further preparations for this event. The first partnership for data exchange from the floating lab has now been signed with startup Captain AI. They are adding artificial intelligence to the data, which enables computers to be trained as artificial captains to navigate independently through the port.

We expect the arrival of autonomous navigation to further increase the safety and accessibility of the Port of Rotterdam and, moreover, it will be an effective aid for skippers and shipping traffic controllers. That is why the Port of Rotterdam Authority aims to test this application, which has already been used in aviation for many years, together with other parties.

—Ronald Paul, Port of Rotterdam Authority COO

The Port of Rotterdam Authority equipped the former patrol vessel with cameras, sensors and measurement equipment to obtain data about weather and water conditions and about the vessel’s operation, power and engine.

In addition to autonomous navigation, the floating lab will test other applications. The use of cameras will be tested for automatic inspection of quay walls or detection of objects in the water, for example. The combination of sensors on the water with land-based sensors to develop a network and smart infrastructure will also be investigated.

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