Svitzer, Kongsberg Maritime and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) signed a deal to jointly develop the RECOTUG, touted as the world's first commercial tug to be fully operated from a remote operations center on shore.
Each organization delivers a unique perspective: Svitzer brings operational experience; Kongsberg brings remote control systems and autonomous technology; and ABS brings guidance for regulatory approval.
The RECOTUG project's aim is to develop a remotely controlled tug that will be able to perform a full towage operation with all operations controlled from a remote operations center. The solution and the achieved safety level shall lead to maritime authorities (class and flag) approving the technology, ultimately permitting Svitzer to conduct commercial remote tug operations in the Port of Copenhagen.
The project is a continuation of the first Svitzer/Kongsberg Maritime (formerly Rolls-Royce Marine) project announced in 2017 centered around remotely operated navigation of the Svitzer Hermod tug in the Port of Copenhagen. From the quay side in Copenhagen harbor the vessel master, stationed at a remote operating center, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, went for a sail and safely docked again.
"While we are still several years away from seeing remotely operated tugs with no crew on board in commercial operation, there is no doubt that advanced autonomy is progressing fast across the maritime industry," said Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, COO, Svitzer. "We start with one tug and explore from there how to best leverage technology, improve safety and efficiency and meet our customer's demand for reliable & cost-efficient services, also in the future."