Norwegian e-navigation technology and services provider Navtor has been chosen by the European Union (EU) to represent the maritime industry in the ENABLE project for three years.

The ENABLE project aims to study, verify and validate the safety of autonomous vehicles in Europe.   

With the selection, Navtor will receive EU funding to examine the concept of ‘shore-based bridges’, which leads the path towards autonomous shipping.

"We can use our expertise with software, monitoring, planning, and the secure transfer of data between vessels as a platform to build upon."

Navtor e-navigation project manager Bjorn Age Hjollo said: “We believe autonomous vessels will be a reality within the next ten to 15 years. Shore-based bridges will be a vital part of realising that vision.

“However, before that point there is work to be done. We can use our expertise with software, monitoring, planning, and the secure transfer of data between vessels as a platform to build upon.

"Together with actors from sectors such as research institutes and the car industry, which has already made huge leaps steps forward in autonomy, we can accelerate the development of safe, reliable and innovative solutions for maritime.

“This is a long-term project with huge potential.”

During its association with ENABLE, Navtor will involve in testing the validity of the software element of a remote bridge concept.

The concept will be fabricated by continuous sharing of data between vessels and land, with major navigation functions converting from the crew to office-based teams.

Navtor said that the shore-based bridges would not be based on the day-to-day operation of autonomous vessels, but would be an important part of their support infrastructure.

It will enable onshore to take charge of individual ships if required.

Last month, Navtor has launched its initiative under the ENABLE project with a initial project meeting for 16 European research and development institutions in Egersund, Norway.

IBM, Philips Medical Systems, Renault, Tieto and Siemens are also involved in ENABLE.