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Remote-control passenger ferry has successful trial run

In a trial of ABB Group’s Ability Marine Pilot Control, a passenger ferry was remotely guided through Helsinki Harbor last week. ABB and Helsinki City Transport partnered with the system on the passenger ferry Suomenlinna II, which was steered from a control center in Helsinki during the trial.

“We are excited about the potential impact of this test on the future of the maritime industry,” Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Industrial Automation division, said in a statement. “Advanced automation solutions from ABB are making the previously impossible for a wide range of sectors, including shipping, which is actively searching for technologies that can rapidly deliver more efficiency and better safety.”

Look ma, no captain. The ferry Suomenlinna II being controlled remotely during a trial in Helsinki Harbor.

Look ma, no captain. The ferry Suomenlinna II being controlled remotely during a trial in Helsinki Harbor.

Added Juha Koskela, managing director at ABB’s Marine & Ports unit: “Autonomous does not mean unmanned. As vessels become more electric, digital and connected than ever before, ABB is able to equip seafarers with existing solutions that augment their skillsets. In this way, we are enhancing the overall safety of marine operations.”

Captain Heinonen guided the ferry remotely from Helsinki’s market square, Kauppatori through a pre-selected area of the harbor. The trial took place during the vessel’s off hours away from shore with no passengers aboard.

Suomenlinna II was built in 2004 and is fitted with conventional controls as well. It will continue to run its usual route and the crew will continue to conduct trials and research in collaboration with ABB.

To watch the video of the remote trial, click here.

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