A joint venture between Port of Amsterdam, the Dutch Customs Office, Seabed and Maritime Robotics recently announced they are working on a pilot project that uses the Telemetron, a sailing drone that inspects the depth of marginal ships at the locks of Ijmuiden.
The companies involved in the collaboration hope to gain experience in new technologies in nautical processes from the project. Seabed, the Amsterdam-based system integrator brought the Maritime Robotics Telemetron from Norway for the project. The Maritime Robotics Telemetron is a research vessel used for testing hardware and software, Seabed has provided all the data measurement equipment on board the Telemetron.
For this test project, the subject of marginal ships was studied. Marginal ships are vessels of which the depth is such that they require an exemption for passing through the Noordersluis lock. During the test, the drone will be deployed in various sub-scenarios for the depth inspection process simulation. Data received will calculate the depth which, in combination with the salt level, determines whether the ship can pass through the Noordersluis lock or has to reduce weight.
As the project takes place amongst regular shipping traffic, safety is of paramount importance, the necessary permits have been acquired, and the Telemetron will be ‘manned’ while sailing drone will sail semi-autonomously. Port of Amsterdam Project Manager, Joost Zuidema explained “Safety is our number one priority, hence our decision to have a boatmaster on board the Telemetron during the test phase. We can test the autonomous sailing in a subsequent phase. Together with the various parties, we want to use this pilot to gain experience and insights into the possibilities, and so be prepared for what the future brings. Foresight is the essence of management.”