European Space Agency (ESA) and One Sea have agreed to share knowledge on maritime digitalisation and autonomous shipping technology.

A memorandum of intent (MoI) covering future co-operation has been signed by the two organisations in an industry alliance aiming to garner more information on autonomous ships.

The partners are looking to promote the development of space-based applications to analyse, enable and implement maritime digitalisation and autonomy.

Working with key stakeholders from the maritime and ICT industries, the One Sea alliance accelerates the delivery of digitalised solutions to market under the guidance of DIMECC (Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation).

One Sea lead Jukka Merenluoto said: “This is an important statement of intent, through which One Sea and ESA acknowledge the significance that on-going digitalisation and autonomy have for the maritime industries.

“Expertise from different disciplines is necessary to transform today’s connectivity capabilities for tomorrow’s needs, and this MoI represents a unique opportunity to develop applications and services that leverage assets on the ground and in space.”

As part of the MoI, the partners will use DIMECC’s Jaakonmeri test area for autonomous vessels, which is the first dedicated test zone for self-guiding ship technology. It is located off Finland’s west coast.

ESA institutional projects section head Rita Rinaldo said: “It is with great satisfaction that we start the co-operation with DIMECC and the other actors participating in the One Sea Alliance.

“We expect that the current initiative, thanks to the engagement of the partners, will foster the emergence of innovative space-based downstream solutions addressing the key challenges of the future maritime and shipping sector.”

The One Sea network was founded in 2016. Its members include ABB, Cargotec, Ericsson, Inmarsat, Kongsberg Maritime, MTI, Tieto, Wärtsilä and Finnpilot Pilotage.

Among its other partners are RINA, Finnish Marine Industries, Shipbrokers Finland, Finnish Port Association and Finnish Shipowners’ Association.