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To explore the impact of developments in autonomy for cargo ship navigation and cargo systems onboard container ships, MacGregor, part of Cargotec, and Rolls-Royce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Both companies will collaborate on research and development.

Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Director Digital and Systems, said: »Rolls-Royce is pioneering remotely controlled and autonomous ships and believes such a remote controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade and a common sight on the high seas by 2030. For the full benefits of such a change to be realised many activities currently done today manually will need to be done autonomously. This research will help us explore how that might be achieved.

Source: Rolls-Royce
Source: Rolls-Royce

As provider of cargo handling solutions and services for container vessels, MacGregor’s role is to bring detailed knowledge of the cargo sector and can provide insights into marine cargo operations and the technology and systems needed to make them as efficient and safe as possible.

»A remote controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade and a common sight on the high seas by 2030«

Pasi Lehtonen, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Business Development and Marketing, MacGregor said: »MacGregor wants to reshape and transform the industry to make it much more efficient, safer and more sustainable. In the segments where we operate, we see a lot of unnecessary waste in the forms of inefficiency, damage to cargo, and continuously dangerous working conditions. Our aim is to minimise this waste from the value network and this collaboration on autonomy for container ships is a good example of where industry leaders work together to transform the industry.«

Removing unnecessary industry waste

Cargotec invests in the transformation to become the leader in intelligent cargo handling. »Being part of Cargotec gives MacGregor a unique position. From our sister companies Hiab (on road load handling) and Kalmar (in ports and terminals) we can learn a lot and we shall also utilise the combined global pool of talented people and best practices,« Lehtonen explained.

»There will be a seamlessly integrated mix of both hardware and software«

In the new era, Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution), the exponentially increasing amount of data will offer great opportunities for our industries with access to real-time information, MacGregor expects. Connectivity will enable remote diagnostics and control and gradually autonomous vessel operations. MacGregor aims to expand its portfolio with new solutions and services, which will be a »seamlessly integrated mix of both hardware and software«. »The development of these new services will be based on our approach of identifying where unnecessary industry waste is taking place within the ecosystems and developing solutions that ensure maximised value in our customers‘ operations,« the company said in a statement.