Sea Machines embarks on the world’s first remote-controlled autonomous ocean-going tug voyage


September 21, 2021

The selected vessel, a modern and ubiquitous tugboat designed and built by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands, is called the Nellie Bly, in homage to the American journalist, industrialist, inventor and charity worker who was widely known for her ultra- character. daring and record-breaking. solo round the world in 72 days. Sea Photo Machines

Marine machinery robotics, a Boston-based developer and manufacturer of autonomous command and control systems for the marine industry, recently announced that it will embark on a 1,000 nautical mile autonomous and remotely controlled voyage around Denmark later this month -this. Appropriately named The Machine Odyssey, the trip marks a landing moment for autonomous transport and should prove that the world’s waterways are prepared and ready for long-term autonomy, Sea Robotics officials said.

The Machine Odyssey will depart Hamburg, Germany on September 30, with full onboard control managed by autonomous technology, while operating under the authority of commanders located in the United States.

The goal of the trip is to prove to the world, and in particular to the thousands of global companies that operate fleets of cargo ships, tugs, ferries and the many other types of commercial work boats, that operators can integrate autonomous technology into their ship operations. for a host of technological advantages, ranging from improved safety and reliability to productivity gains and new capabilities on the water. The Machine Odyssey marks a new era in the human-technology relationship that is propelling operations at sea into the 21st century, Sea Machines said.

At the helm will be the Sea Machines SM300 range system, which will also use the latest long-range computer vision from Sea Machines. The SM300 is a complete sensor-propeller range system that uses advanced path planning, obstacle avoidance replanning, vector nautical chart data, and dynamic domain awareness, all to control a trip from start to finish. at the end. The SM300 provides remote human commanders with an active mapping environment with live augmented overlays showing mission, vessel status, situational awareness and environmental data, as well as real-time audio and video from the ship from many streaming cameras.

Marine fleets operate in the most vibrant and often the most powerful environment on our planet, where the direct forces on ships regularly exceed those ever experienced by machines on the road, in the air or in space. The safety of the ship, the crew and the cargo is paramount in the autonomy battery of Sea Machines, with protective behaviors that allow the industry to optimize operations with confidence and a fair balance between safety, productivity and efficiency.

The project is called The Machine Odyssey – which translates into a long, motivated and eventful journey and is reminiscent of Homer’s “Odyssey”, which for millennia has inspired mankind with the courage of Odysseus and his crew. to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure. This illustrates in many ways the attitude and journey of a venture capital-backed high-tech American start-up like Sea Machines.

The selected vessel, a modern and ubiquitous tug designed and built by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands, the Nellie bly, paying homage to the American journalist, industrialist, inventor and charity worker who was widely known for her ultra-daring and record-breaking solo trip around the world in 72 days.

“From time immemorial, the oceans have been the source of the best of human innovation, designed and built by architects and engineers, and deployed by a select and special group of people, sailors, on whom great part of society counts today and in the future for the supply of food, electricity, water, goods and transport. And as a leader in the technology space, Sea Machines has a duty to embark on new waters, navigate any fog of uncertainty and prove the value of our planned technology course, ”said Michael Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines, in a statement announcing the trip. “Just as other land-based industries transfer the repetitive manual chores of human systems to predictable robotic systems, our autonomous technology elevates humans from controller to commander, with most of the direct continuous control efforts handled by the technology. This overhaul of the human-technology relationship is the basis of a new era of offshore operations and will give industries on the water the tools and the ability to be much more competitive, and will put an end to the erosion of freight. high-value air and road, will put more ships on the water, operate in better harmony with the natural ocean environment, and provide new products and services.

Throughout the trip the Nellie bly will carry two professional sailors and occasional guest passengers and will call at ports along the route to display and demonstrate the technology. Sea Machines will broadcast the journey live on a dedicated The Machine Odyssey website so everyone can access 24/7 updates from the sea, crew, command center, and more.


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