Maritime connected and automated transport; smart vessels, ports and infrastructure - state of the art

Maritime connected and automated transport; smart vessels, ports and infrastructure - state of the art

State of the art

Improving competitiveness, safety, and security of European shipping is a major objective of the EU Maritime Transport Strategy, which in turn shapes the requirements for upgraded maritime transport information management. Advances in ICT have created a demand for new forms of surveillance and information management systems; these are increasingly driven by policy and governance addressing safety, security, and sustainability. This is reflected in the emergence of the IMO’s e-navigation concept and the more embracing European Commission’s e-Maritime framework, established for measurable economic, social and environmental benefits.

The rapid development in information and communication technologies will significantly increase digitalisation in all waterborne sectors and lead to data-driven services such as optimising energy use and fuel efficiency, vessel performance and condition monitoring, and weather routing. A higher degree of systems automation, the availability of smart sensors and global networks for data transfer between ship and shore will promote remote controlled, and semi or fully autonomous operation of assets. Interconnectivity between sea-based operations and shore-based operation centres will enable increasing support and control from the shore. This will require secure systems and operations against cyber-attacks.

The requirements for maritime connected and automated transport, (which includes e-Maritime and e-navigation), to address future impacts and challenges are based on forecasted trends and trend interdependencies, taking into account market intelligence, predicted societal trends and the future regulatory framework, for all waterborne sectors. The principal outcomes from these trends represent the likely demands on the maritime industry through to 2030.

From the above demands a set and knowledge research priorities for connected and automated maritime transport were selected to specifically address the above requirements and these are as follows:

  • Improved port and logistics infrastructure and operations
  • Improved littoral management and development
  • Improved crew working conditions and health and safety requirements on board
  • Improved ship security systems/Improved protection against hacking
  • Greater shore based monitoring and surveillance
  • Continuing drive for greater energy efficiency/Better design codes and modelling
  • Flexible and adaptive ship operations/ Improved ship handling and survivability/ Improved vessel routing
  • Greater ship autonomy/More autonomous ship operation
  • Greater integration of the logistics chain/Displacement of paper systems

Four research priority topics for Digital Waterborne Transport research and development were then selected from the focussed set of Digital Waterborne Transport technology and knowledge research priorities. These topics addressed the maritime requirements for future impacts and challenges, arising from the identified trends. The four research priority topics are indicated below and illustrated in Figure 1 as interdependent entities.

  • Smart and Autonomous Ships;
  • Smart and Connected Ports;
  • European Integrated Transport System;
  • European Marine Digital Highway.