Construction starts for MV WAVELAB: Autonomous ferries are getting closer

Raytheon Anschütz develops autonomous navigation for CAPTN research catamaran

In partnership with the Clean Autonomous Public Transport Network (CAPTN) initiative in Kiel, Germany, Raytheon Anschütz leads the way toward autonomous navigation.

Construction of the research vessel MV Wavelab, in collaboration with the Gebr. Friedrich shipyard in Kiel, began in March 2022 as part of the Förde Areal project, with a delivery date scheduled for the end of 2022. Semi-autonomous and autonomous driving tests in the Kiel Fjord are being conducted on the electronic-powered, 20-meter-long aluminum research catamaran.

Raytheon Anschütz, a business of Raytheon Technologies, installs a SYNAPSIS NX integrated navigation system, autopilot and navigation sensors on the ship. The integrated data management checks for integrity, plausibility and validity, as well as managing the central target and alarm management of Synapsis NX, which forms the basis of the autonomous system.

The CAPTN initiative expands the system with optical systems such as cameras and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, collision prevention algorithms and assistance systems. Also included are functions for prediction, detection and classification of objects, and route exchange via VHF data exchange service (VDES).

In the wheelhouse and on deck, the MV Wavelab offers sufficient space for research equipment and scientific workstations. Sensors and cameras can be installed on a surrounding frame for testing purposes, with capacity available for data storage and processing in the hulls. Real-time data links enable data exchange with a shore-based control center.

The control center development within the Förde 5G project allows operators to monitor and control the ship remotely. Focusing on high-level situational awareness through navigation displays and camera images, the center allows control of the actuators using user interfaces for autopilot and machine control.

The CAPTN initiative has the vision to develop autonomous, safe and sustainable public transport systems. As CAPTN strives to connect the east and west banks of Kiel with autonomous, low-emission passenger ferries, a network of companies and universities develops and researches necessary technologies within a number of projects funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

Raytheon Anschütz partners in the Förde Areal project with the University of Applied Sciences of Kiel, Kiel University, the Wissenschaftszentrum Kiel GmbH and ADDIX Internet Services GmbH.

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