Convoys of autonomous vessels led by nuclear icebreakers would improve the efficiency of maritime traffic on the North Sea route, according to a study by Russian nuclear researchers.
The State Nuclear Corporation of the Russian Federation, Rosatom, and the Federal Institute of Experimental Physics Research (VNIIEF) are working on the development of a digital model of an unmanned vessel that will help improve the efficiency of maritime transport in the Arctic.
The report made by both institutions is the prelude to position themselves as leaders in Arctic development and make shipping in icy waters more profitable and safer.
This study analyzes the optimization of the shapes and dimensions of ships in which the dimensions of the accommodation zone are reduced to a minimum. Nuclear icebreakers would sail first by breaking the ice and followed by several unmanned ships. Researchers say that these unmanned vessels will be safer, with human errors reduced to 60-80%. They will be equipped with computer systems linked to radio signals and digital monitoring of the vessel’s movements.
The next step will be the development of digital models and the corresponding tests.
The study points to Norway and other European countries where several similar autonomous shipping studies are carried out. In southern Norway, the Yara industrial enterprise will open a route of fully electric and self-contained container ships between the Herøya fertilizer plant and the port of Brevik. The first trip is scheduled for 2020.
Source: Sector Maritimo