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World's first test site for Unmanned Surface Vehicles

September 30th, 2016 was an important day in Maritime Robotics´ history, when the worlds first officially announced test-site for Unmanned Surface Vehicles and Ships was opened in Trondheim. NTNU, Marintek and several high technology companies have signed an agreement with the maritime authorities to make Trondheimsfjorden the test site for unmanned ships.

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Maritime Robotics

October 3rd, 2016

The Trondheim Fjord is straightforward, with relatively little traffic and the parties involved believe there is limited risk of conflict with other shipping traffic. NTNU and Marintek have large maritime research communities with a long tradition and great plans for theirOcean Space Centre.

High technology companies Kongsberg Seatex, Kongsberg Maritime and Maritime Robotics will collaborate with NTNU and Marintek at the test area. Trondheim Harbor is also included in the project. Today the parties signed the agreement with the Norwegian Maritime Directorate and the Norwegian Coastal Administration.

The contract, which makes Trondheimsfjorden a testing grounds for unmanned ships, is being signed. From the left: Naval Officer Olav Akselsen, Arvid Dimmen, NCA, Einar Hjorthol, Trondheim Harbour, Johan Hustad, NTNU and Vegard Evjen Hovstein, Maritime Robotics. (Photo: Aleksander Myklebust)

The company Maritime Robotics has for several years been testing unmanned small boats in the Trondheim Fjord. When the fjord now formally becomes a test area, it is expected that the activity will be stepping up and several major players will sign up. The people behind this project believe and hope that a result of this agreement can have valuable spin-offs for the industry and further research from other parties. The test area will be available for everyone, including foreign players, who need to conduct tests in connection with autonomous vessels - as long as they relate to the NCA guidelines.

Revolutionising shipping

It is expected that unmanned ships will be a revolution in the shipping industry. Lower emissions, lower operating costs and better security are some of the expectations. The development of new knowledge and technology can also improve the security of existing ships. The partners behind "fjord laboratory" mean that Norway now has the opportunity to be first in the development of this new knowledge and new solutions that will characterize shipbuilding in the world to come.

Illustration: This is how the unmanned marine traffic may look in the future. Photo: KONGSBERG SEATEX AS

Spear tip

NTNU and the industry has over time invested in the development of Smart Ships, and unmanned aircraft. Amos Centre (Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems) at NTNU is a spear tip in unmanned, autonomous aircraft.

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