The Boat of Indra That Sails ‘Alone’

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The company develops a maritime vehicle that is controlled remotely and that is programmed to avoid accidents.

The new version will arrive in 2019.

It is 2015. The Xunta de Galicia reviews the level of development of several of its industries. The wood, wind in stern. In textile, it has Inditex. In automotive, to PSV. But there is not much in terms of aeronautics. So they choose to subsidize whoever is established on their land to work on it, with a lot of interest in the maritime version of that industry.

Indra, which in 2012 had started to move threads in this field with internal developments from the company’s R & D funds , is aiming for adventure. And it does so with two projects: two remotely piloted ships, designed as auxiliary vessels for different activities.

“For fishing boats to the fence, for coastguard services that are very close to it (where semi-rigid vessels of the same tonnage are used as ours), in rescue actions, in the taking of samples of water quality .. . “, says the expert responsible for Indra, José Manuel Pérez-Pujazón.

This boat is already sailing, in fact, and includes pilot cameras, compartments that launch a lifeboat to the water or a speaker that enables remote instructions. In addition to an emergency system by which, in case of loss of radio control, the boat turns to the right (which is what dictates the general navigation regulation), turns on the lights and returns to a predetermined point. At the moment it does it, by law, with a skipper on board, but they have already shown that the technology works.

Account, the same Jose Manuel Perez-Pujazón in the meeting Innovazul celebrated last week in Cadiz, that this was an experimental boat, but that already work in the evolved version. “In the second one we will use Gasoil fuel, which is much safer, the structure of the boat will also be slightly different: the first one looked for speed and was equipped with a glide vessel structure, now we look for efficiency”, shares the same in private conversation . “The important thing is the autonomy: when a crew takes three hours is exhausted due to the resistance to vertical acceleration or the lurches of navigation, an unmanned vessel does not have these effects.”

The idea, like this, is to have a boat similar to the one that already sails in terms of tonnage (the one that already works is a boat of about seven or eight meters long – long and two tons of weight), but with much more autonomy and less need for power. And the plan, which is finished next year.

The Boat of Indra That Sails 'Alone'

The sector in general so demands it. Rolls-Royce has already presented the prototype of a new generation of autonomous boats that could be operational in a few years. In Norway, the Yara Birkelandy ship is expected to be fully autonomous by 2020. The first test field for unmanned ships has opened there.

“The issue is that, both in the air and in the maritime field, technology is far ahead of the regulations: in the case of aerial drones, Spain lives very in tune with European regulations, which are not yet developed, but in Maritime term there is practically nothing “, claims José Manuel Pérez-Pujazón. Although it does not hide that, in part, this has a meaning: “there are times when the decision of the master of a ship is fundamental, so it has to be there.”

In the end, the complexity of this vehicle being autonomous rests on the same points as in any other. “The advantage is that you avoid human error, summarizes and concludes it. “The disadvantage, that establishing the rules that solve all moral issues and dilemmas, is very complex.”

 

Source: El Mundo

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