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Intelligent Situational Awareness Module In order to help in this development MARIN is taking the first steps to create a realistic simulation model setup for our holistic, autonomous design & verification simulation testbed. In this simulation, collision avoidance algorithms, path planning autopilots or complete autonomous control systems can be tested and verified in any environment and under realistic traffic situations. Realistic situational awareness information is therefore crucial. AIS and RADAR sensors alone are not sufficiently accurate in many situations. A combination of sensors and sensor fusion is necessary to provide reliable information under varying environmental conditions.


To increase our knowledge about the performance of such sensors in the harsh, maritime environment, MARIN has built an autonomous RHIB with a range of situational awareness sensors. The ‘Intelligent Situational Awareness Module’ (ISAM) is a modular, stand-alone sensor mast and processing unit with 3D LIDAR, RADAR, long-wave infrared cameras, AIS, DGPS, a compass, motion sensor, anemometer, VHF radio and redundant 4G and UHF communication systems. The module is interfaced using the Robot Operating System (ROS) framework to provide optimal flexibility. In 2019 successful trials were performed in Wageningen and Rotterdam to demonstrate the functionality of the systems for remote control. Ongoing research will focus on the development of the sensor fusion software required to create an integrated, robust, situational awareness that will be used to test MARIN’s collision avoidance algorithms. Further trials are scheduled to collect data for the development of sensor simulation models in non-ideal conditions.


Shore Control Centre for remote monitoring & control of autonomous vessels The way ships are controlled or supervised from a remote, land-based location is another important aspect of unmanned (autonomous) shipping. MARIN is developing a Shore Control Centre for remote


monitoring and controlling autonomous vessels called WUBBO (Watch Unmanned Behaviour of Boat Operations). The ultimate goal is to develop a holistic test facility where stakeholders can meet, test and discuss developments. Topics could include: • Design of a Control Centre; what information should be available for an operator and what is the best way to present this information?


• What are the required competences of an operator and how should they be trained?


• The impact of autonomous shipping on harbour operations, e.g. what is the impact on VTS and pilotage services and how will they interact with remote monitoring & control stations?


• The ultimate assessment of the highly automated or autonomous systems (certification), using the aforementioned simulation environment, requires the measurement of the performance of the collision avoidance systems, the reliability and availability of the situational awareness, and the overall safety of the total (semi)-autonomous system setup.


The basis of the Control Centre is MARIN’s simulation software DOLPHIN. Earlier this year the initial setup was tested in the Port of Rotterdam on the autonomous RHIB. The test setup consisted of a laptop with DOLPHIN showing the position of the RHIB and other vessels in the vicinity in real-time on an electronic navigational chart. The RHIB could be controlled remotely by transmitting a predefined route and speed from the Control Centre to the vessel. The autopilot onboard executed the predefined route by setting the required rudder angle and engine power. It was also possible to control the vessel manually by setting the heading and speed of the vessel.


This year we will take the next step in the development of our Shore Control Centre by setting it up at MARIN with extended monitoring and controlling functionalities. We will also connect it to our bridge simulators as a first step towards the holistic test facility for autonomous shipping. Furthermore, this setup potentially plays a role in defining the future of the VTS system of the Port of Rotterdam (the VILA project).


The unmanned RHIB remotely controlled by transmitting a predefined route and speed to the vessel


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