Rolls-Royce is expanding its range of mtu NautIQ ship automation systems with three new products: mtu NautIQ CoPilot, mtu NautIQ CoOperate and mtu NautIQ CoDirect, which each offer different levels of intelligent crew support, autonomous control, and remote command capabilities. Customers in all marine applications will gain significant operational advantages and benefits in terms of safety, efficiency, environmental impact, and climate friendliness.
The new products are the next step in the cooperation between Rolls-Royce and Sea Machines Robotics, the leading developer of autonomous control and remote-vessel command systems, which was first announced at Monaco Yacht Show in September 2021. The continued development of the mtu NautIQ product range is at the core of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to be an innovation leader in the marine business and to provide customers with complete propulsion and control solutions from ‘bridge to propeller’.
mtu NautIQ CoPilot is the most advanced intelligent pilot assist system of the new product range. Depending on operating mode, the human-on-the-loop system can either autonomously control a planned voyage from start to finish, or not intervene at all in human operations, while only guiding the operator. The system enables navigation with greater precision and predictability, helping to reduce costs, fuel consumption and emissions.
It is an important step towards more climate-friendly marine operations, made possible by the groundbreaking fusion of digital marine sensors, embedded electronic charts, advanced AI algorithms and one of the world’s most advanced broad-area computer vision systems.
mtu NautIQ CoOperate is an optionally autonomous ship navigation command system which enables off-boat remote command, including all payloads on board. The system can take over routine and monotonous vessel tasks and it allows crews to focus on more important aspects of their missions. The system has recently proven itself in the field in spectacular fashion: The tug Nellie Bly used the system to complete a 1,000 NM roundtrip from Hamburg around Denmark, remotely commanded from an office in Boston, USA, 3,000 NM away. As with all the new products, operators can intervene at any moment if necessary.
mtu NautIQ CoDirect is a wireless, remote-helm system that can control a vessel’s engines, steering and transmission as well as payload functions such as winches and cranes from a distance of up to 1,000 metres. This allows marine crews to operate the vessel from the best vantage point, increasing safety and efficiency. For example, a tug operator can leave the wheelhouse to operate the vessel from a location with better visibility.
Michael Johnson, CEO and founder of Sea Machines, said: “This continued partnership is significant because it brings together a foremost marine power and propulsion solutions provider and the leading developer of advanced and AI-based vessel control systems. Our alliance not only increases access to intelligent technologies that can positively impact operators’ bottom lines, productivity, eco-stewardship and safety, but it also provides proof of the growing market demand for these types of systems for real-world operations. We thank Rolls-Royce for their continued trust in our technology and look forward to seeing them in use aboard a variety of vessel types globally.”
Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems, said: “I am excited to see how quickly the teams of Rolls-Royce and Sea Machines have turned our joint vision into products available for our customers. This addition to our mtu NautIQ product portfolio is an important part of our journey towards a provider of integrated sustainable solutions. And it’s a fantastic example of how we, as a company with long history and tradition, implement cutting-edge technology – which benefits our customers and the environment alike – in a very agile way.”
Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems, with its product and solution brand mtu, is pioneering climate-friendly propulsion and power solutions in the marine market. It is currently transforming itself from an engine manufacturer to a provider of integrated sustainable solutions. With the sustainability programme “Net Zero at Power Systems”, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is taking concrete steps towards climate-neutral solutions. For example, starting in 2023, the company will release its mtu Series 2000 and 4000 engines for sustainable fuels such as e-diesel and second-generation biofuels, thus enabling climate-neutral operation in all applications. In addition to using sustainable fuels, the company is also working on new technologies such as CO2-free fuel cell systems.