Autonomous Vessel - Totem Plus Experience, Capabilities and Vision
The marine industry is moving rapidly into the Autonomous Vessels domain, a segment that shows vast potential of becoming a “hot market” in the coming years. Recent estimate of the DoD is that the US navy will require 9.6$ billion in FY2019 for unmanned systems and technology.
Commercial activity is seen as well, with the acquisition of Rolls Royce by Kongsberg (both are players in this field) and the establishment by Wilhelmsen of “the first autonomous shipping company”. Further, Regulatory activity for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) is under way in IMO. Totem Plus is a player in this field and intends to increase its presence.
Experience in Autonomous vessels.
Totem Plus was working on the development and operation of Autonomous vessel. The system handles all the navigation aspects, from route tracking to collision and obstacle avoidance, without any human intervention. In late 2017 Totem Plus led a consortium of about 10 European companies, and submitted to the “Horizon 2020” program of the EU a proposal titled “Conversion of an Existing Greek Flag Ship into a Fully Autonomous vessel, trading continuously within the Greek Territorial Waters”. The proposal was rejected by the EU (for non-relevant reasons – the ship selected, small cargo vessel, was not accepted). During the lengthy process of preparing the proposal we became familiar with many aspects of such conversion (apart from navigation and automation) and confident in our ability to deliver a full autonomous solution. We are currently checking other venues that might be interested in such project, either with the existing consortium or with a revised one.
Totem Plus is a developer and manufacturer of modern Navigation and Automation systems since 1994, and installed such systems on more than a thousand vessels (mostly big commercial ships). The systems developed have direct connection to Autonomous Vessel requirements. Our Collision Avoidance algorithms (part of our ECDIS), combined with our Event Based Engine Automation System and our stability online measurement techniques, already covers three aspects required for Autonomous ships (navigation, automation and sea state) and are unique solutions. The systems have advanced AI algorithms that make them suitable for autonomous ships, and the company is now capable, together with other sub-contractors that handle other aspects such as command post and training – to carry out such projects on any required size of vessel.
Vision and Potential.
Totem Plus vision is to become a world leader in Autonomous Vessels systems. Our solutions are unique and proven, and the marine knowledge accumulated during the last 24 years covers many related aspects. The potential for the Autonomous Ship market is vast, including naval and commercial vessels, and is estimated in billions of USD per year once the ability to run autonomous ships, either unmanned or with 80% crew reduction – will be demonstrated. It is our intention to pursue this market and create a spin off entity that will be dedicated to this segment and will be active in making ships autonomous.