From left: Director General of Business Finland, Pekka Soini; Director General of ‎the Ministry of Employment and Economy, Ilona Lundström; Minister Anne Berner; President Rolls-Royce Marine, Mikael Mäkinen; UK’s Ambassador to Finland, Tom Dodd; Mayor of Turku, Minna Arve (Photo: Pekka Leino)

Autonomous Ship Research Center Opened in Finland


Rolls-Royce's new research facility in Turku, Finland provides a space for the company and its partners to develop technologies that will help shape the future of an increasingly more autonomous global shipping industry.

Officially opened on January 25, the new R&D center, which Rolls-Royce calls the Research & Development Center for Autonomous Ships, will focus on projects relating to autonomous navigation, the development of land-based control centers and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations. The facility will also provide space to showcase Rolls-Royce' already introduced autonomous ship technologies as well as those still in development.
"Stakeholders, partners and customers will be able see here what a remote controlled and autonomous maritime future could look like, and work with us to shape the future," said Rolls-Royce President Marine, Mikael Makinen, speaking at the center's official opening ceremony.
The facility's "Remote and Autonomous Experience Space" includes interactive tables that Rolls-Royce will use to showcase existing and future technologies while aiding the development and introduction of new rules and standards for autonomous shipping, Rolls-Royce said.
Makinen explained, "The experience space that is part of the center here in Turku, and a similar one we have in our Technology Center in Norway, is aimed at demonstrating to our customers the very tangible benefits of what is often considered an intangible technology."
"The center allows us to more accurately communicate our capabilities, what we have available today and what will be available tomorrow," said Karno Tenovuo, Rolls-Royce Senior Vice President, Ship Intelligence. "It will completely focus on the development of solutions capable of smoothing the maritime industry's transition to the digital age. An autonomous maritime ecosystem will open up unprecedented opportunities."
Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications, Anne Berner, said the new R&D center further strengthens Finland's commitment to developing autonomous transport: "There is great global interest in autonomous vehicles and vessels as a future means of transport. The opening of the Rolls-Royce Research & Development Center for Autonomous Ships here in Turku, a maritime city with a history of technological innovation, will help achieve our goal of digitalizing the country's transport sector."