“We are pleased that with the commissioning of the shore control centre at Anschütz, we are now taking a big step towards autonomous as well as semi-autonomous driving tests in the digital test field in Kiel,” said Daniel Sommerstedt, Project Manager for CAPTN at Anschütz.
From the shore control centre, the MV Wavelab will be monitored in the maritime test field on the inner fjord in real time. The sensors and navigation systems on board can be accessed and the ship’s steering and propulsion can be remotely controlled. The project partners are creating a complete digital twin in the control centre with all data provided by the various existing and experimental sensors and systems on board.
In order to exchange the large amounts of data in real time between the ship and the shore control centre, an extremely powerful system architecture based on a 5G mobile network and a high-performance WiFi-6 network provided by Addix GmbH for maritime data communication is being set up on the Kiel Fjord and on shore.
“In the shore control centre we have the possibility to feed a lot of new data into our bridge platform, process it and then visualise it in an overall maritime picture,” said Sommerstedt. “One of the goals of the next research stage is to find out what information needs to be presented to users and in which way, so that they can monitor and remotely control the Wavelab safely and efficiently.”
The shore control centre is equipped with a large monitor on which camera systems display a 360 degree view in real time, just like on a real ferry. Multifunctional displays allow access to the navigation radar as well as to the electronic nautical chart and navigational data. The user interface for the MV Wavelab’s steering and propulsion systems is visible on another display. On a separate dashboard, the performance of the overall system is presented, such as the available bandwidth, the status data of the system components or the energy management.
Project partners can also test innovative assistance systems developed as part of the CAPTN initiative directly on additional displays in the control centre. To enable automated manoeuvres, MV Wavelab’s steering and propulsion systems have been equipped with open interfaces. Assistance systems include collision avoidance scenarios calculated based on artificial intelligence or rule- and model-based approaches, automated berthing manoeuvres, or video images to which automated object recognition is applied.
“We can very flexibly test the added value of additional information or displays directly in a real test environment here and deduce how we can really improve safety and efficiency of future navigation systems through a higher level of integration or automation”, said Sommerstedt.
Among the project partners in the realisation of the shore control centre are Addix GmbH, who implement secure wireless communication and the system architecture for the digital twin, and Kiel University. Associated partner of the Fjord 5G project is WTD 71 with the naval arsenal, which provides an ideal, sheltered harbour for testing autonomous driving manoeuvres. Other project partners include the City of Kiel, Port of Kiel GmbH & Co. KG as well as AVL Deutschland, HH Vision, local ferry operator Schlepp- und Fährgesellschaft Kiel mbH, and Wissenschaftszentrum Kiel GmbH, all in all promoting the cooperation between enterprises and universities.
CAPTN’s vision is to develop autonomous, safe and sustainable public transport systems. CAPTN aims to connect the east and west banks of the Kiel Fjord with autonomous, low-emission passenger ferries. A network of companies and universities are developing and researching the necessary technologies in a series of individual projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digitalisation and Transport.
The MV Wavelab and the maritime test area for the development of sensors and software systems for autonomous navigation are part of the CAPTN research projects Fjord Area 1 + 2.