WILHELMSEN Ship Management (WSM) has inked two agreements that are to help lay the regulatory framework for autonomous shipping.
The first agreement, with DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA), focuses on the development of a safety-management system for autonomous, remotely controlled and remotely supported vessels.
The second agreement, with DNV GL and the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), aims to develop the competence required in a shore-control centre to manage and operate autonomous vessels.
WSM president and CEO Carl Schou said the agreements were to be game changers in the way WSM operates.
“This is an exciting chapter for WSM, as regulations governing autonomous shipping are still in their infancy and WSM will play a key role in shaping the future role of ship managers and the regulatory framework,” he said.
“As a pioneer in this field, our strategic alliance with DNV GL, NMA and USN is crucial to ensure a holistic development of the new, one of a kind document of compliance.”
The development is to be spearheaded from a management centre in Lysaker, Norway.
WSM vice-president for Europe and the Americas Haakon Lenz said there will be an unprecedented reliance on machines and systems working seamlessly together with the utmost reliability.
“Decision making will be data driven and calculated with upmost precision,” he said.
“Having the right competencies skill sets, operational processes, vessel maintenance philosophy and culture in place will be critical to embracing this shift.”
DNV GL director of operations Marianne Valderhaug said efficiency in the management and operation of shipping companies and vessels is high on DNV GL’s agenda.
“Digital solutions and developments on autonomy will enable the maritime industry to develop and implement measures for improved efficiency ashore and on board,” she said.
“The ability to utilise these opportunities with an effective management system, ensuring safety at the same or a higher level will be a game changer and we in DNV GL are aiming to be at the forefront of this work.”
USN Assistant Professor Tor Erik Jensen said through the agreement of co-operation with the companies, the university was increasing its commitment to conduct research on how autonomous technology can be used in a safe and efficient manner.
“We have a strong belief that autonomous systems are the future and USN wish to take part in the journey towards realizing that future,” he said.