CRITICAL MASS: Marine stakeholders trial prototype datahub to assist the development and adoption of autonomous vessels
MCA led MASS project enters second phase of consultation
The team which has set up a prototype data platform which could help work underway in autonomous vessel development wants more companies and organisations to come forward and test it.
Four weeks after the first version of the MARLab platform went live, the project managers Solis Marine say it has nearly 20 different datasets live and available for review from its Port of Portland test site.
These include Live AIS, vessel arrivals, vessel expected arrivals and sailings, vessels in port, wind and speed direction, bathymetry, chart data, tidal data, navigation exceptions and a UK Hydrographic Office package. The UKHO package is an interactive visual of fixed structures and other key-spatial data.
Rosalind Blazejczyk from Solis Marine which manages the project on behalf of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s MARLab project said: “When we started looking at this, those interested in what we could produce in these datasets told us there were six that they felt were the most important to them. We’re excited to say that five out of those six – AIS data, tidal data, UKHO geo-spatial data and a hydrographic model of the test site at Portland – are all included.
‘We have established the case for implementing communications infrastructures and the provision of data from assured sources.”
Tom Owen, managing director of delivery partner Maritrace, said: “High quality data was a key deliverable for stakeholders. The fact that we have been able to provide such data from trusted suppliers such as the UKHO demonstrates our capability to meet industry expectations. Additionally, the inclusion of a traffic lights system to demonstrate how frequently live data is updated lends further credence to the value of the data available on the prototype hub.”
Solis Marine is also looking to work with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to host a workshop during 2020, something else that industry is asking for.
Dr Katrina Kemp from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency who oversees the MARLab work said that it was clear that the UK industry needs and requires a clear regulatory pathway for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).
She said: “As the regulatory authority, we’re very keen to work with the industry to find a way of continuing the development of this vital and innovative sector without compromising ship safety. We know this kind of work will help the maritime industry create fit-for-purpose autonomous vessels.”
Solis Marine is looking for more companies and organisations to get involved by testing the data platform and giving them the feedback needed to assist the MCA MARLab trial.
Rosalind added: “As project managers for the MCA MARLab trial, we are continuing to evaluate the usefulness and impact of a data powered resource to the MASS and smart shipping industry.”
In January 2019, Department for Transport published a long-term strategy for the UK maritime sector. Maritime 2050 aims to ensure the UK is at the forefront of technological advancements, including maritime autonomy, to transform and grow our maritime workforce and be bold and ambitious in progressing clean maritime growth.
The MARLab project is funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy