Norwegian classification society DNV, along with its partners, has launched the SAFE Maritime Autonomous Technology (SAFEMATE) project to study autonomous navigation solutions.

The partners include Kongsberg Maritime, Kongsberg Seatex, Bastø Fosen and NTNU.

Partially funded by the Research Counsel of Norway (RCN) through the MAROFF-2 programme, the project is designed to improve and evaluate the efficiency and safety of autonomous navigation systems.

Initially, the project will trial an automated navigation decision support system on an operational ferry, the Bastø VI.

The project will assess both object detection and collision avoidance, as well as test automated systems to support navigation while keeping an operator in the loop.

DNV Group research and development director Pierre Sames said: “Modern vessels are already complex automated systems, but building in autonomous decision support capability, increases this complexity immensely.

“This is why it’s vital to develop a framework comprising processes and tools that can assess the safety performance of these systems both in the design stage and throughout operations.”

With a focus on routing and collision avoidance, the project will develop a system that can identify threats and obstacles in the marine environment.

The system will also interpret the information and provide a solution to an on-board operator. It will be assessed using simulators, as well as with human operators.

Later, the system will be used in full-scale trials on the Bastø VI, the Bastø Fosen ferry that operates between Moss and Horten, Norway. 

Meanwhile, Knutsen NYK Carbon Carriers (KNCC) has secured approval in principle (AiP) from DNV for its new PCO₂ tank system designed to ship liquefied CO₂ (LCO₂).

A joint venture of Knutsen Group and the NYK Group, KNCC offers CO₂ transportation and storage solutions.

Last week, the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI) also received AiP from DNV for the design of an ammonia-fuelled pure car and truck carrier (PCTC).