Kotug demonstrates the sailing of the first remote controlled tugboat over a long distance today. The RT Borkum was controlled from the International Tug, Salvage & OSV Convention and Exhibition (ITS) ITS in Marseille, while the RT Borkum was sailing in Rotterdam. A captain of KOTUG took over the control of the tug via a remote secured internet line and camera images. These cameras and controls of the tugboat were used on the demo consoles in Marseille. This project is a joint industry project by the sponsors mentioned below. There was no external subsidy used.
KOTUG believes that unmanned remote controlled ships will be the first step to ultimately unmanned autonomous shipping. Various simple operations in remote locations can already be done from remote controlled stations. Kotug uses its Rotterdam simulator for further testing of unmanned operation tasks. The real time sensor technology makes it possible to give the remote control captain the situational awareness that is needed for safe operation. Combined with the drone technology to connect the towline, unmanned shipping is commercially and technically getting closer.
Unmanned shipping does not yet comply with current rules and regulations. Therefore, rules need to be amended before tugs can actually start doing their tasks fully autonomous.
Stakeholders that contributed to this demo project :
Alphatron : Camera visualization and system integration in the consoles
KOTUG : Project management and supported MAROF student with Thesis “Remote controlled tugboat “
KPN : providing data sim cards for stable 4G internet connection
M2M Blue: Stable data connection with VPN tunnel (4G and LAN connection combined)
OnBoard : conversion of the steering and engine control signal to internet protocol and vice versa
Rotortug: Owner of the RT Borkum
Veth : Steering and engine control system to take over from local console to remote control and vice versa