Wärtsilä has successfully carried out testing of its autodocking technology on Norwegian operator Norled’s Folgefonn ferry.
The hybrid 83m long ferry, which was already installed with a Wärtsilä wireless charging system, completed tests between January and April this year, including actual harbour docking trials. All docking manoeuvres were done automatically with no manual control from the captain.
The autodocking technology works by activating the system on board at 2,000 metres from the berth. The vessel continues at normal transit speed while the system performs a gradual slowing of speed. It then activates the line-up and docking manoeuvre facility automatically, until the ship is secured at berth. The system may be used in identical reverse order when the ship is ready to sail again.
Full steering and propulsion is automatically controlled by the software. While no manual intervention was required during the trials, it is possible at all times if needed. According to Wärtsilä, the automatic docking procedures allows ship officers to focus on situational awareness outside the wheelhouse, improving safety and reliability of the operations. In addition, there is less wear and tear to the thrusters as they are efficiently utilised while more efficient and timely docking allows more time at berth.
Sigvald Breivik, Technical director, Norled said: “We are pleased to support Wärtsilä’s efforts for creating greater efficiencies for marine operators. Technologies that improve safety, reduce operating costs, and lower the environmental impact can only be good for our industry.”
Roger Holm, President, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions commented: “We thank Norled for their valued cooperation in this project. These tests represent an important element within Wärtsilä’s overall smart marine vision. Autodocking can become a vital part of our offering to the ferry and other shipping markets, and will further promote our activities in leading the transformation into a new era of high efficiency and profitability for our customers.”
Wärtsilä’s autodocking project is supported by the Norwegian state-owned Innovasjon Norge (Innovation Norway).