5G real-time communication makes autonomous ships a reality

- Milestone on the way to autonomous passenger ferries -

Raytheon Anschütz, a business of Raytheon Technologies, is once again leading the way in shipping by helping to create a digital working environment for autonomous ferries.

The work is part of the Förde 5G project, a 5G cellular network for ship traffic on the Kiel Fjord. The project will also ultimately support the development and testing of new systems that enable ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication, remote control of ships, and autonomous maneuvers.

Förde 5G is a project of the Clean Autonomous Public Transport Network (CAPTN) initiative and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Raytheon Anschütz is a member of CAPTN and is responsible for controlling and monitoring ships in real time from a land-based control center.

“Sensors aboard the autonomous ships create a vast amount of data. For example, when it comes to collision avoidance, maneuvering or docking,” said Daniel Sommerstedt, who is responsible for strategic development and technology road maps at Raytheon Anschütz.

Raytheon Anschütz develops the secure, high-performance exchange of data between the ships of the digital test field, and between the ships and the shore-based control center.

“We support personnel in the control center with clear, immediate situational awareness and guide their decision-making with a new integrated navigation system at the control center side,” Sommerstedt said. “Our development of a central component takes an important step toward partially autonomous and autonomous shipping.”

Regional research institutions and companies are also participating in the CAPTN initiative to develop and implement an environmentally friendly, autonomous mobility chain for local public transport for the city of Kiel, Germany.

At the heart of this project are autonomous, low-emission passenger ferries. In addition to Förde 5G, CAPTN also includes the Förde Areal project for necessary infrastructure, including development and testing of a seagoing experimental vehicle technological test platform and the landside control center.