BMT wins UKHO ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation’ challenge

BMT has been announced as the winner of the first ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme challenge by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), for a new navigation system combining its REMBRANDT and TUFLOW simulation technologies to support autonomous operations planning and real-time navigation safety in Maritime and across Maritime sector’s diverse set of industries.

1 December 2020

Coastal Infrastructure Defence and Security Energy Shipping - Technical Services Water and Environment

BMT wins UKHO ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation’ challenge

BMT wins UKHO 'Unlocking Autonomous Navigation' challengeThe UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has this month announced BMT as the winner of the first ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme challenge.

Launched earlier this year, the programme aims to help start-ups and innovators develop new solutions that support safe, secure and thriving oceans. The programme’s first innovation challenge focused on ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation’ and tasked participants with identifying how marine geospatial data can support the safe navigation of commercial autonomous ships.

For this challenge BMT created a new navigation system, which combines its field-proven REMBRANDT and TUFLOW simulation technologies to enhance autonomous operations planning and real-time navigation safety in busy waterways and ports.

The system successfully simulated the navigation of a 140m part-autonomous ferry in Plymouth port using multiple ADMIRALTY data sets, including bathymetry, tidal streams and heights, seabed composition and ship routing. 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. In addition, as part of this challenge, BMT has won a seat at the IoT Tribe Space Endeavour Accelerator to further develop technologies using satellite-derived data.

Sarah Kenny OBE, Chief Executive of BMT, commented:

“We strongly believe in the development of, and transition to, a fully autonomous world and we are particularly proud to put our experience and knowledge towards a challenging navigation project that could become a catalytic factor for industrial innovation in this area and beyond. Thanks to these initiatives, introduced for the very first time this year by the UKHO, BMT will strengthen its technological leadership in a very competitive sector.”

Dr Phil Thompson, Director of Simulation and Training Products at BMT, commented:

“Receiving this international award from the highly-esteemed UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is indeed an honour. BMT continues to further develop its technological expertise in the field of autonomous vessels’ navigation with the goal to create a centre of excellence in the UK for one of the strongest growing maritime sectors. With BMT’s long heritage and world leading expertise to develop technology and further harmonise aids to navigation worldwide, we are well-placed to provide the navigation safety that has always been fundamental to the delivery of maritime safety and underpins every aspect of the operation of the sector.”

Mark Casey, Head of Research, Design and Innovation at the UKHO, said:

“We’re delighted to announce BMT as the winner of our Autonomous Vessel Challenge. This is a great achievement for BMT and an exciting milestone in the UKHO’s journey to support safe, secure and thriving oceans. The ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme was established to inspire innovative solutions to the threats faced by our oceans, as well as the opportunities. Our challenges aim to support the growth of the Blue Economy and unlock the power of marine geospatial data across our sector. The team at BMT share the same goal and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with them.”

The UKHO plans to roll out more challenges to help tackle a number of vital issues, including tidal and wave energy generation, blue carbon sequestration and sea-level rise modelling. The next challenge on Transforming Maritime Risk and Insurance is currently open now for entries: https://www.admiralty.co.uk/innovation-programme/maritime-insurance-challenge.

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