Wärtsilä offers first commercially available auto-docking system

2019-06-17T11:46:01+00:00 June 17th, 2019|Technology|

Wärtsilä claimed to have taken a notable step towards realising the full commercial potential of autonomous vessels.
Following the latest and testing of its SmartDock auto-docking system, which included giving industry representatives and customers first-hand experience as passengers onboard the test vessel, the company has secured the first order for the system.
This makes SmartDock the world’s first commercially available auto-docking solution, the company claimed.
By automating docking procedures, the Wärtsilä SmartDock system mitigates potential human errors resulting from ship officers having to perform technical manoeuvres several times a day.
This is especially important on, for example, larger ferries that must enter and leave tight docking spaces, where significant damage can be caused by forceful collisions with the dock walls. Efficiency and safety is, therefore, considerably increased, Wärtsilä said.
The Master can select the destination and with a click of the ‘sail’ button, the SmartDock system will take over. The ship then leaves the dock, manoeuvres out of the harbour, sails to the next port of call, manoeuvres into the harbour and docks alongside the quay, without any human intervention.
“The SmartDock solution is the culmination of decades of extensive research and testing by Wärtsilä in automation technology. Our system draws on similar automation and positioning technology used by oil rig support vessels to maintain proximity to the rig in the toughest sea environments. This gives us absolute confidence in SmartDock’s ability to meet the urgent commercial need to provide the safest possible docking for commuter ferries,” said Joonas Makkonen, Vice President, Voyage Solutions, Wärtsilä.
“The SmartDock solution offers improved safety and efficiency for existing vessels,” said Jakob Steffensen, Head of innovation and technology, DFDS, who attended Wärtsilä’s demonstration of the product. “More importantly, it represents an important part of the solutions needed to power the next generation of vessels.”
The successful sea trials were carried out onboard the ‘Folgefonn’, an 85 m long ferry owned by Norwegian operator Norled. The tests also included operating the automatic 180deg rotational turn of the vessel, as well as Wärtsilä Guidance Marine’s CyScanwith GeoLock technology, acyber-security enhancing secondary position sensor, which enables the approach to the berth to continue even if the GPS signal is lost.
“We continue to be impressed with the Wärtsilä SmartDock system, which is unique in that it works hand-in-hand with the Captain to ensure the best performance on every docking, every day. It’s the perfect collaboration between an experienced crew and technology,” said Inge Andre Utåker, Regional director, Norled.