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Autonomous systems by Rolls-Royce and TUT


Rolls-Royce International Maritime Unit and Tampere University of Technology,TUT, Finland, are working in a strategic partnership to develop and test the technology to support autonomous systems, enabling the first generation of autonomous ships.

The partners are working at the research centre especially established for remote-controlled and autonomous marine crafts located in Turku, and they are using the University’s purpose-built autonomous ship simulator. Remote-controlled ships are expected to be faring the world’s seas by the end of the decade.

TUT has achieved its expertise in this area through high-quality training in mechanical engineering that has produced a large number of experts working in the field. Scientific research has likewise played an important part in gathering knowledge and experience in autonomous systems.

“The Academy of Finland’s research centre GIM, established in 2005, has been but one source of excellent research in the field. GIM’s research concerned the development of autonomous working machinery. The ongoing Aawa proiect funded by Tekes concentrates specifically on autonomous machines in marine settings,” professor Kalevi Huhtala says. “These are just some of the reasons why TUT is significant partner to Rolls-Royce.”

Dr Kuosmanen, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Tampere University of Technology, said: “We have been working with Rolls-Royce, in the AAWA Project, on the development of remote controlled and autonomous ships since 2015. This collaboration moves us a step closer to making our vision of an autonomous vessel in operation a reality in the near future.”

According to Mikael Mäkinen, President of Rolls-Royce’s Marine unit, digitalization will set a new course for the future of the shipping industry, and Rolls-Royce seeks to pioneer the development of remote-controlled and autonomous vessels. “We hold an excellent position to lead the way into the future of sea traffic and guide collaboration with industry, universities, and governments. Our ambition is to have remote-controlled ships faring the world’s seas commercially by the end of the decade.”

Karno Tenovuo, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President Ship Intelligence, said: “Rolls-Royce is pioneering remotely controlled and autonomous ships and believes such a remote controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade. Tampere University of Technology is an innovative and experienced partner who can help us develop autonomous systems that will redefine shipping.”

Rolls-Royce and autonomous shipping

Rolls-Royce is pioneering the development of remote controlled and autonomous ships, applying technology, skills and experience from across its businesses with the ambition of seeing a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade. Rolls-Royce’s experience in secure data analytics across civil aerospace, defence, nuclear power and marine; coupled with its ship intelligence capabilities, design, propulsion and machinery expertise means it is ideally placed to take the lead in defining the future of shipping, in collaboration with industry, academia and Government.

The Marine division of Rolls-Royce already has strategic partnerships with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, together with numerous collaboration projects with SMEs and start-ups specialising in novel technologies.
Rolls-Royce is also a founding member of the world’s first autonomous marine traffic ecosystem, a collaboration project coordinated by DIMECC Oy.

MSc training in mechanical engineering in Turku

The technology industry and especially marine technology are on the rise in Turku and Southwest Finland, and experts in these fields are in high demand. To meet this demand, a number of Finnish higher education institutions have collaborated to found a new MSc-level training programme in mechanical engineering in Turku (link in Finnish).

The two-year training programme will begin again in autumn 2017. The programme is being developed to meet the needs of the marine and automotive industries. The training programme is a collaboration between TUT, University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.

TUT is also involved in training the staff for the new research centre. The training concentrates on the themes of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.


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