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            july 20, 2019

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Singapore develops its first remote-controlled autonomous tug


Singapore's shipbuilder Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) has started developing an autonomous tug that is expected to come to market in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Keppel Singmarine Pte Ltd will develop the tug, which will be operated by Keppel Smit Towage, with a grant of up to SGD2 million (US$1.48 million) from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) under its Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund.
The project comes after a memorandum of understanding signed by Keppel O&M, MPA and the Technology Centre for Offshore Marine, Singapore (TCOMS) in April 2018 to develop autonomous vessels for a variety of applications, which included channelling, berthing, mooring and towing operations, American Shipper reported.
"We are constantly looking out for the next new technology to pilot and testbed in an effort to develop Maritime Singapore to be more efficient, productive and technologically advanced," said MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon.
"This is one of five autonomous vessel projects that MPA is supporting as part of our Marine Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) test bedding programme."
The project involves retrofitting a 65 mt tug with systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision and collision detection and avoidance. An onshore command centre also will be set up to remotely control the vessel.
Keppel O&M, through its technology arm Keppel Marine and Deepwater Technology, will work with MPA and TCOMS to develop technologies as a digital twin for the tug to simulate behaviour in various scenarios and optimise operations, as well as data analytics tools to improve the control and response of the ship.
The American Bureau of Shipping will provide approval in principle for features such as remote navigation control and autonomous control system.
M1 will provide 4.5G network connectivity to establish standards and data transfer links in terms of latency and reliability for the ship to shore communication. It also will support Internet of Things maritime applications.

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