The co-creation company leading the One Sea – Autonomous Maritime Ecosystem, DIMECC, has opened the world's first test area for autonomous maritime traffic, vessels and technologies on the west coast of Finland.

The space will be known as the ‘Jaakonmeri Test Area’ and will be managed and controlled by DIMECC.

Companies, research institutes and other organisations seeking to test autonomous maritime capabilities will also be permitted to use the area, which was provided by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Southwest Finland.

The area's longest side is located to the north and spans a distance of 17.85km, while the western side is nearly 7.10km long.

The open-water area will also provide the opportunity to test systems in ice conditions during the winter period.

Jaakonmeri Test Area has been developed as part of a Finnish government project that aims to promote the country's development and use of unmanned maritime systems.

The project also seeks to create the world’s first unmanned maritime systems and services, in addition to an efficient autonomous maritime ecosystem, by 2025.

Finland Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner said: “Promotion of digitalisation and extensive utilisation of automation and information are the driving forces of the Government key projects.”

All entities wishing to run tests using the Jaakonmeri Test Area will be required to seek permission from DIMECC.

Individual testing procedures at the site will be conducted for periods of one to six weeks.

"Jaakonmeri Test Area has been developed as part of a Finnish government project that aims to promote the country’s development and use of unmanned maritime systems."

DIMECC will provide connectivity services for the test area through its partners.

Jaakonmeri Test Area is also expected to help implement the One Sea – Autonomous Maritime Ecosystem initiative by offering exclusive testing opportunities for the development of safe and successful autonomous traffic.

ABB, Cargotec, Ericsson, Meyer Turku, Rolls-Royce, Tieto and Wärtsilä are the founding members of One Sea.

The association of Finnish Marine Industries and the Finnish funding agency TEKES have also lent their support to the project.

Image: Rolls-Royce’s vision for future autonomous ships. Photo: courtesy of Rolls-Royce.