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  March 10th, 2017 | Written by

Rolls-Royce Investing in R&D for Ship Intelligence

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  • Rolls-Royce wants to see a remote-controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade.
  • Rolls-Royce is looking to develop partnerships to create the capabilities for remote-controlled shipping.
  • “Digitalization will transform the shipping industry in the years ahead.”

Rolls-Royce has announced the latest stage in its research and development plans to make remote and autonomous shipping a reality and reap the benefits of increasing digitalization in the maritime industry.

The company is looking to develop partnerships and opportunities with organizations around the world to create the capabilities, competencies, and jobs to supply the technology and components required.

The latest part of that program has been confirmed with the announcement, in Finland, of a significant research grant by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. The funding will enable Rolls-Royce to invest further in a research and development center in Turku, Finland. The company plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centers, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.

“Digitalization will transform the shipping industry in the years ahead, and the time is now right to set out how we are going to make this happen,” said Mikael Mäkinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine. “Over the coming years we need to invest globally to develop the required capabilities and to establish a range of market-ready products and systems to take advantage of what is a significant global market opportunity.”

Rolls-Royce has set a goal of seeing a remote-controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade. The marine division of Rolls-Royce already has strategic partnerships with the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland and universities in Norway and Singapore, together with numerous collaboration projects with SMEs and startups specializing in novel technologies.

In Norway, the company is currently investing in a range of R&D projects, which will include a new Marine Fleet Management Center in Aalesund, to allow remote monitoring, data analysis, optimization of ships and their on board equipment. The center will allow Rolls-Royce to extend its Power by the Hour concept, already proven in its aerospace business, to serve the marine sector. Power by the Hour is a new service to be delivered from the marine division of Rolls-Royce which makes use of big data to monitor, plan, and perform maintenance and repairs on onboard ship equipment.