Ove Ronny Haraldsen
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Spacious and low trafficked. The fjord outside the city of Trondheim now opens for anyone seeking knowledge about autonomous shipping. Last week Norwegian authorities, the research community and the industry agreed on making the fjord the first known test site in the world.
Behind the initiative are Kongsberg Seatex, Kongsberg Maritime, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, MARINTEK and Maritime Robotics. Collaborating with Trondheim Port Authority, The Norwegian Maritime Authority and The Norwegian Coastal Administration.
“We are establishing this test site in order to get momentum on development on new technology for autonomous vessels. The fact that the test site is established is creating a lot of energy in the research and university domain and also in the industry”, says Gard Ueland, President of Kongsberg Seatex.
On board the research vessel Gunnerus autonomous technology from KONGSBERG are demonstrated for the media. Systems where computers are taking control of the ship.
“In one hand you have the control systems. But you also have the censor systems that will be crucial for tomorrows autonomous vessels. KONGSBERG has a very god platform when it comes to censor technology and censor development. There are many good reasons why KONGSBERG definitely should be a part of this”, says Ueland.
The city of Trondheim is referred to as the technological capital of Norway. A status created through a unique collaboration between students, scientist and industry.
“We believe that joint collaboration between these three partners is important trough future research centres. We have a long experience with this on other areas and for now it’s important for us to develop a research area within autonomous ships where we can have a joint effort between these three parties”, says Ingrid Schjølberg, Professor and Director NTNU Oceans.
As important as technology are rules and regulations when it comes to autonomy. Because safety are always the first priority.
“It’s very important for us to be a member of this group so that we can follow the development very closely. What we will do is to see if there are obstacles in the legislations that needs to be taken away and off course our main aim is security”, says Olav Akselsen, Director of the Norwegian Maritime Authority.
“This reflects the position Norwegian Authority’s wants to take when it comes to positioning the maritime industry. It also means that other countries will look to what Norway are doing when it comes to this technology and development of autonomous vessels”, concludes Gard Ueland, President Kongsberg Seatex.