Ocean tug set to circumnavigate Denmark under remote command

An ocean tug, the Nellie Bly, is being prepared for a 1,000nm autonomous and remotely commanded journey around Denmark, control systems developer Sea Machines said last week.

The aim is to prove that the world’s waterways are primed and ready for autonomous vessel technologies and autonomous command. The vessel will depart Hamburg, Germany on October 1st with full onboard vessel control managed by autonomous technology, while operating under the authority of commanding officers located in the USA. During the journey the human passengers on board will enjoy the benefits of autonomous operations, demonstrating the technology can work for commercial, government and recreational purposes.

Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomy system will be guiding the tug, which will also use Sea Machines’ long-range computer vision. The SM300 is a sensor-to-propeller autonomy system that uses path-planning, obstacle avoidance replanning, vectored nautical chart data, and dynamic domain perception on its journey.

The SM300 provides the remote human commanders with an active chart environment, with live augmented overlays showing the mission, state of the vessel, situational awareness and environmental data, and real-time vessel-born audio and video from the many streaming cameras.

Sea Machines said it will stream the journey live on a website dedicated to what it is calling “The Machine Odyssey”.