The Nellie Bly, photographed in Hamburg (Source: Sea Machines Robotics)

Boston-based team control autonomous tug in Denmark

A team of United States Coast Guard mariners in Boston, working on a project run by autonomy specialist Sea Machines Robotics, have remotely controlled the autonomous tug, Nellie Bly, as it completed a voyage in Denmark.

The project, called The Machine Odyssey, involved the Nellie Bly operating autonomously over more than 1,000 nautical miles of Danish waters. The voyage took 129 operational hours over 13 days and involved 31 collision avoidance and traffic separation manoeuvres.

An AI-enabled Sea Machines SM300 sensor-to-propeller system facilitated path planning, active domain perception, dynamic obstacle and traffic avoidance and replanning, depth sensing, and fusing of vectored nautical chart data, according to a Sea Machines statement.

The tug averaged a speed of 7.9 knots during the voyage while Sea Machines collected 3.8TB of operational data. The Boston team were able to see an active chart of the vessel’s environment, as well as other details of the voyage including status of the vessel, situational awareness of the domain, and video from streaming cameras.

Sea Machines’ CEO, Michael Johnson, commented: “Autonomy is taking hold faster on the waterways than it is on roadways. Our autonomous systems are already supporting vessel operations around the world in manned and unmanned capacities. The Machine Odyssey was a success and we believe we will soon see autonomy become commonplace.”

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore