The project MUNIN – Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks – is a collaborative research project, co-funded by the European Commissions under its Seventh Framework Programme. MUNIN aims to develop and verify a concept for an autonomous ship, which is defined as a vessel primarily guided by automated on-board decision systems but controlled by a remote operator in a shore side control station.
Maritime transport within the EU faces challenges such as significant increases in transport volumes, growing environmental requirements and a [U]shortage of seafarers [/U]in the future. The concept of the autonomous ship brings along the potential to overcome these challenges. [U]It allows for more efficient and competitive ship operation and increases in the environmental performance of vessels.[/U] Furthermore the shore based approach offers “seafaring” the possibility to become more socially sustainable by reducing the time seafarers spend away from their families.
Many coastal areas, such as port approaches and channels, are difficult to navigate and are highly sensitive to accidents and pollution. They require a pilot on-board the ship, pilot exemption certificates for crew and/or VTS interactions. As one prerequisite for autonomous ships MUNIN investigates improved [B]ship-shore communication and coordination[/B]. The gained results can also be applied to support current processes of pilotage, VTS operations and ship management. Further improved communication and interaction possibilities between ship and shore [U]could enable a shift of the responsibility [/U]for e.g. energy efficient ship operation and general system supervision from ship to shore.