Vessel location: Damen Shipyard, Gorinchem, The Netherlands
Blog highlight: Introduction to Machine Odyssey and Sea Machines’ SM300
The autonomous revolution is taking the 21st century by storm. From our roads to our skies, and now, the biggest frontier of them all – our seas. Sea Machines continues to prove that the world’s waterways are primed and ready for autonomy, which will retool the world’s fleets to operate more safely and seamlessly, and provide our growing global society with greater access to the oceanic 70 percent of the planet.
September 30, 2021, marks the start of the Machine Odyssey, an epic voyage to circumnavigate the country of Denmark with a commercial vessel commanded by marine officers located in the United States. Celebrated as the world’s first 1,000 NM autonomous voyage, the trip will begin with Sea Machines’ SM300-equipped, autonomous vessel Nellie Bly departing Hamburg, Germany for a voyage around Denmark and back.
Click here to open the project flyer (.PDF).
Along the way, Nellie Bly, a Damen Stan Tug, will make stops at more than a dozen ports, with scheduled events planned for Hamburg and the maritime epicenters of Copenhagen and Esbjerg, Denmark. Sea Machines’ primary European office is in Hamburg, a city that is also home to many significant European ship-owning and -operating companies.
During the remotely commanded Odyssey, the autonomous tug will carry a crew of two professional seafarers, as well as various observing passengers on some legs of the voyage.
The Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomous command and control system enables active waypoint-based transit autonomy, as well as other automated behaviors to intelligently manage a voyage from start to finish, The system consumes real-time situational awareness data from multiple onboard sensors including computer vision, radar, AIS, depth transducer and fuses all into an active electronic nautical chart platform. An autonomy code stack manages the path planning and dynamic replanning for obstacle avoidance or other necessary course changes. The feature-rich technology takes all aspects of a voyage into account. (Example: Active sea-keeping that regulates vessel motions in higher sea-states for the protection and comfort of cargo and passengers.) The SM300 provides a remote user experience that includes augmented charts, dynamic domain information, real-time heads up and surround video, direct control of vessel systems and gives the remote commanders the ability to switch between autonomous and direct remote control if needed.
Learn more about the SM300.
This translates to the fact that the SM300 is an autonomous self-piloting system that is always-on-watch and enables off-boat remote command.
“The autonomous revolution is here,” said Sea Machines’ CEO Michael G. Johnson. “Much like Nellie Bly, who in many ways boldly pushed against convention – especially during her 1889 record-setting, 25,000-mile personal expedition around the world – Sea Machines has moved way beyond the large legacy technology companies that serve the space by pushing boundaries and fearlessly deploying significant autonomous vessels on the high seas. With a focus on inventing new technology, like long-range computer vision, standardized active autonomy and dynamic remote command, and then validating them as comprehensive products, Sea Machines is ushering in a seismic shift in the marine and maritime industries that will tremendously change how our sector operates; the types of jobs available; the realized operational profits, speed and safety; and so much more. Keep your eyes on Sea Machines – the Machine Odyssey is proving how the future of ship and vessel technology is available to operators right now.”
The vessel is currently being outfitted with an SM300 and all associated equipment, receiving paint and undergoing more at Damen’s shipyard in The Netherlands to ready her for the trek. (See photos below.)
Upon departure on the 30th, Sea Machines’ SM300 technology will stream real-time voyage data and camera footage to this site’s dashboard, which enthusiasts can access 24/7 for live updates. Log on to “ride along” virtually and check the Nellie Bly’s speed, course, transit, surrounding environment and progress as we execute this significant industry first.