• 2021 January 14 09:50

    UAntwerp and Port of Antwerp testing innovative technology for autonomous shipping

    Automated navigation is the future of inland shipping. It may sound futuristic, but innovative research carried out by UAntwerp and the Port of Antwerp is bringing us one step closer to this dream. The key: 3D sonar sensors, inspired by the way bats see the world, the Port of Antwerp says in a press release.

    'In 2019, over 42% of all goods entered or left the port of Antwerp via inland waterways', says port alderman Annick De Ridder. 'In other words, inland shipping is crucial if we want to ensure the accessibility of our city and our port. By focusing on technology such as unmanned navigation, we want to further increase both the market share and the competitiveness of inland shipping.'

    'Unfortunately, inland shipping is not exactly a sexy sector', says Svetlana Samsonova. As liaison officer, she coordinates many different joint research projects carried out by the University of Antwerp and the Port of Antwerp. 'Attracting young talent to this sector is not an easy feat. That's why we focus so strongly on innovation. Unmanned vessels can lead to substantial cost savings, as well as provide an answer to our increasing traffic congestion problems and the rising costs of road transport. Smart vessels definitely have a part to play in the multimodal transport approach that the Port of Antwerp wants to help develop further.'

    Enter Prof. Jan Steckel. At CoSys-Lab, a research group in UAntwerp's Faculty of Applied Engineering, he develops advanced sensor systems that can withstand harsh conditions. 'In order to achieve fully autonomous navigation, constant monitoring of the ship's surroundings is absolutely crucial', Steckel explains. 'Cameras can be used, of course, but when visibility is poor – due to dust, water sprays, mud, smoke or fog – they don't work properly.'

    Sonar sensors, however, remain fully functional under such circumstances. They can provide a reliable picture of the ship's surroundings at a low cost. Steckel: 'We drew our inspiration from the way bats use echolocation. They emit sound waves, and when those waves hit objects, the bats hear the echoes of these collisions, allowing them to avoid obstacles flawlessly.'

    CoSys-Lab is a world leader in innovative sonar technology, which has many possible uses. For instance, the researchers are also looking into applications in the mining industry, where trucks equipped with these sensors could drive automatically from point A to point B.

    For the project with the Port of Antwerp, the researchers developed a 3D sonar sensor with 32 sophisticated waterproof microphones. The project is called eRTIS, which stands for 'embedded Real Time Imaging Sonar'. Steckel: 'The information is transmitted in real time, because if there are any delays, the ship could crash into something. The 'Imaging Sonar' part refers to reflected sound waves hitting the sensors to create a picture of the surroundings.'

    In the last weeks of 2020, the technology was successfully tested on the Tuimelaar, one of the Port of Antwerp's test vessels. In 2021, there will be a follow-up project: as part of the Smart Docking Innovation Challenge, the Port of Antwerp has given the green light to Prof. Jan Steckel's 3D Sonar and Lidar for Vessel Monitoring project.




2021 January 24

16:37 Boluda Towage acquires Dutch Towage & Salvage Company Iskes
15:13 MARAD announces notice of funding opportunity for America's small shipyard grant program
14:39 Greensea receives US NAVY award to advance Standoff Command and Control
14:18 USCG assists 7 people after boat collision near Fort Pierce
13:42 Contract awards within Renewable Energy and Subsea
12:32 RightShip and INTERCARGO announce important new quality standard for dry bulk sector to be governed by new NGO
11:26 V.Group announces new appointment
10:56 Siem Car Carriers' fleet continues to grow with Super-Eco, LNG powered PCTC vessels

2021 January 23

16:31 DNV GL awards AIP to KSOE for wing sail propulsion system
15:23 Boomsma Shipping installs and sails off with two eConowind Flatrack VentiFoils
14:51 HHLA acquires majority share of automation specialist iSAM AG
13:18 MPA announces 30-day suspension for pleasure craft, ADVANT, for large social gathering on board
12:42 Puerto Aguadulce hits 1 million TEU milestone
11:36 Diana Shipping announces time charter contract for M/V Calipso with Viterra
10:53 Bahri Ship Management receives ISO 45001 certification for occupational health and safety

2021 January 22

18:00 Rosmorport's icebreaker Mudyug starts providing icebreaking assistance in the Baltic Sea
17:36 Andrey Lavrishchev appointed as head of Federal Marine and River Transport Agency
17:13 Aleksandr Poshivay appointed as Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation
16:34 Rosmorport starts providing geodesic and hydrographic services in the water area of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky seaport
16:05 APM Terminals Gothenburg offers certified climate impact calculations to customers
15:49 Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard commences outfitting of yet another minesweeper of Project 12700, Pyotr Ilyichov
15:21 Norsepower installs first tiltable Rotor Sails on Sea-Cargo Ro-Ro
14:58 Container terminal in Świnoujście is in line with sustainable development vision
14:32 Cargo turnover of NCSP Group in 11M’2020 totaled 101.4 million tons, down 21.2% YoY
14:07 Petersburg Oil Terminal in 2020 increased shipments of oil products by 16.6%
14:03 Jan De Nul adds two new vessels to its fleet
13:45 DHT Holdings announces acquisition of two VLCCs
13:29 Iridium partner MetOcean Telematics provides SaR buoys to the USCG
12:52 Havyard develops hydrogen zero-emission vessels in new segment
12:11 THE Alliance announces Transatlantic Service Network adjustments for 2021
11:30 Rosmorport successfully completed formation of Ultramar terminal’s water area
11:06 Training ships Nadezhda and Professor Khlyustin welcome first cadets of 2021 season
11:05 Inmarsat passes 10,000-vessel fleet xpress installation milestone as data demand accelerates maritime digitalisation
10:39 Scottish Ports Group welcomes Scottish Goverment's establishment of 'Greenports'
10:21 Throughput of Kaliningrad port in 2020 fell by 6% Y-o-Y
10:02 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Jan 22, 2021
09:48 Bunker market sees mixed price movements at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:30 Crude oil prices decrease amid aggravation of the epidemiological situation
09:12 Baltic Dry Index as of January 21

2021 January 21

18:07 Port of Houston awarded new start for Ship Channel
17:50 Throughput of port Vyborg in 2020 fell by 46% Y-o-Y
17:27 Rolls-Royce secures research contract with US Navy to develop innovative debris detection technology
17:03 Galeon Yachts announce new outbourd model
16:42 Throughput of port Vysotsk in 2020 fell by 4% Y-o-Y
16:32 Jan De Nul Group is the first dredging company to carry out 100% sustainable beach replenishments in Belgium
16:23 Yaskawa Environmental Energy develops a permanent magnet propulsion system for superyachts
16:09 MABUX Bunker Weekly Outlook, as of Jan 21, 2021
16:00 Throughput of port Primorsk in 2020 fell by 19% Y-o-Y
15:36 Bunker market see mixed price movements in the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
15:13 Battle stations for boat-handling systems
14:58 Port of Ust-Luga throughput in 2020 declined by 1% Y-o-Y
14:43 MasterCraft Boat Company launches digital boat show experience to connect with consumers amidst dynamic boat show season
14:22 ABS grants AIP for DSME’s Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology
14:05 20% global e-commerce growth fast tracks supply chain tech adoption from 5 year plans into 2021 action
13:43 Sovcomflot and Total sign time charter agreement for up to 7 years for a newbuilding 174,000-cbm LNG carrier
13:21 TFG Marine to start bunkering operations from Falmouth in the United Kingdom
13:11 Ocean carriers battle the Covid cargo crunch
12:52 Throughput of Port St. Petersburg in 2020 remained flat, year-on-year
12:36 UECC opening doors to a sustainable future
12:08 Crowley awarded fuel distribution contract for Arctic North Warning System