Sea Machines and Foss Maritime have received approval in principle (AiP) from the maritime classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for their vessel autonomy system on board a tug boat.

Dubbed SM300, the vessel autonomy system provides autonomous navigation along with collision detection and collision avoidance (CDCA).

To improve the safety and efficiency of operations, Foss will equip Sea Machines’ SM300 system on board its harbour tug, named Rachael Allen.

The system will mainly be used for routine transit and stand-by operations to enhance safety and reduce the burden on the crew.

A series of product reviews were carried out on the new autonomous system to ensure it was in line with ABS’ requirements for the use of autonomous systems on board vessels.

Designed to assist with station-keeping, the SM300 system can interface with Kongsberg-MTU propulsion systems.

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During the AIP process, ABS evaluated multiple documents for Sea Machines, including software test plans and concept of operations materials for Rachael Allen.

ABS global engineering and technology senior vice-president Patrick Ryan said: “Autonomous technology continues to advance at pace and ABS is committed to supporting its safe adoption by the industry.

“We are proud to add this project to the list of pioneering initiatives we are supporting all over the world that are gradually realising the potential of autonomous operations for the industry.”

Furthermore, ABS already approved the deployment of the Sea Machines SM200 commercial wireless helm for tugboats, which support articulated tug-barge (ATB) sets.

In July, ABS announced a collaboration with Samsung Heavy Industries to develop smart ship technology for structural health monitoring (SHM) using a hull sensor package.