Autonomous ship navigator

Our marine navigation simulator is at the cutting edge of autonomous navigation, supporting the development of future remotely operated vessels through to fully autonomous vessels. BMT REMBRANDT is used by key marine industry partners as a core component of their unmanned navigation system.

Autonomous ship navigation

Our marine navigation simulator is at the cutting edge of autonomous navigation, supporting the development of future remotely operated vessels through to fully autonomous vessels. BMT REMBRANDT is used by key marine industry partners as a core component of their unmanned navigation system.


Autonomous vessel operations

One of the key developments in the marine environment over the next two decades will be the increased interaction between fully manned ships, reduced manned ships and autonomous vessels in congested waterways. The introduction of new sensors, big data and data analytics provides an opportunity to improve navigation safety as well as shipping efficiency.

BMT are working with a range of autonomous shipping stakeholders, including autonomous vessel designers to develop and implement a BMT REMBRANDT-based solutions for improved utilisation of shared water spaces.

Our research and development has focussed on key interactions in potentially hazardous situations between mariners and machines. This has involved fusing and processing onboard sensor information, developing new BMT REMBRANDT S57+/ S100 ENC platforms allowing for dynamic datasets, (e.g. water heights, and more granular bathymetric data and tidal data) and combined with COLLREG’s cognisant machine learning.

Industry leading innovation

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) announced BMT as the winner of the first ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme challenge for the autonomous vessel navigation. The challenge tasked participants with identifying how marine geospatial data can support the safe navigation of commercial autonomous ships.

In response to the challenge, BMT created a new navigation system, which combined BMT REMBRANDT with TUFLOW, an industry leading hydraulic modelling software. The two simulation technologies enhanced autonomous operations planning and real-time navigation safety in busy waterways and ports.

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) provided a number of input datasets including: LiDAR terrain data, bathymetry, tidal streams and heights, seabed composition and ship routing. This data was used to generate and calibrate a TUFLOW hydraulic model to produce fine resolution tidal current and tidal height data for use within the autonomous navigation simulation. The simulated trial vessel with REMBRANDT's "autonomous autopilot" kept to the pre-determined path as it adapted to the prevailing meteorological and environmental data.

The system successfully simulated the navigation of a 140m part-autonomous ferry in Plymouth port using multiple ADMIRALTY data sets. This new application by BMT can also be linked to other external and environmental data sources, including satellite and automatic identification system (AIS) receivers, to ensure safety and efficiency.

As the challenge winner, BMT will collaborate with the UKHO, utilising marine geospatial data and expertise, to develop an alpha product for the autonomous shipping sector.

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