Breakthrough for automation project

IntelliTug trials IntelliTug trials are being carried out in the Port of Singapore. Image: Wärtsilä

A project which seeks to evolve intelligent vessel capabilities and viable pathways to achieve safe and sustainable autonomous operations and meet port growth challenges has made a breakthrough development.

Wärtsilä, in collaboration with PSA Marine, has commenced dynamic positioning (DP) trials under real-life conditions as part of its IntelliTug project, to meet the challenges of the evolving Tuas Port, which is expected to double Singapore’s port capacity by 2040. The DP system on board the harbour tug PSA Polaris is being trialled in the Port of Singapore. The project also supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

“The IntelliTug project is about discovering smarter, safer, and more efficient ways of operating a harbour tug,” said Bernard Wong, head of fleet management at PSA Marine. “It incorporates human-centric technology, design thinking, and man–machine collaboration. We are on a journey of turning today’s ideas into tomorrow’s reality,” he added.

The new DP system, also known as the Joystick Manoeuvring System (JMS), enables easier and more intuitive control of the tug’s movement. The tug master can achieve ‘virtual anchoring’ to hold position and/or maintain the tug’s heading with a single button push. The system also enables digital navigation instructions to be passed to the vessel’s propulsion systems. The system has received a Statement of Compliance from Lloyd’s Register, which has also approved this next phase of the project.

The PSA Marine tug masters involved in the IntelliTug project underwent simulation and onboard training before beginning actual operating trials onboard PSA Polaris.

Wärtsilä and PSA Marine will continue development of the IntelliTug project throughout the coming months, including physical test-bedding and trials in Singapore port waters.

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