MacGregor and Rolls-Royce to explore impact of autonomy on container ships


Cargotec unit MacGregor has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rolls-Royce to jointly conduct research into the impact of developments in autonomy for cargo ship navigation and cargo systems on container ships.

The results of the proposed research are expected to help both MacGregor and Rolls-Royce to develop autonomous container ships in future.

Rolls-Royce digital and systems director Asbjørn Skaro said: "Rolls-Royce is pioneering remotely controlled and autonomous ships and believes such a remote-controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade, and a common sight on the high seas by 2030.

“For the full benefits of such a change to be realised many activities currently done today manually will need to be done autonomously.

“This research will help us explore how that might be achieved.”

MacGregor aims to contribute its knowledge in marine cargo-handling activities and related technology and systems to the proposed research.

"Rolls-Royce believes a remote-controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade, and a common sight on the high seas by 2030."

MacGregor strategy, business development and marketing senior vice-president Pasi Lehtonen said: “MacGregor wants to reshape and transform the industry to make it much more efficient, safer and more sustainable.

“In the segments where we operate, we see a lot of unnecessary waste in the forms of inefficiency, damage to cargo, and continuously dangerous working conditions.

“Our aim is to minimise this waste from the value network, and this collaboration on autonomy for container ships is a good example of where industry leaders work together to transform the industry.”

The company also noted that the exponential increase in data would offer various opportunities for the cargo handling industries with access to real-time information.

Connectivity is also expected to enable remote diagnostics and control and gradually autonomous vessel operations.