The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) is a €6.6 million research project initiated by Rolls-Royce. The project aims to do futuristic R & D in maritime technologies for unmanned vessel operations. On 8th September 2015, Tuesday, Inmarsat announced its participation to provide satellite communications link and platform that will form an integral part of remote control capability.
A Finland based company Tekes is to fund the project. This project will be the culminating point for various well known research institutes, ship companies and other stakeholders in order to explore the legal, regulatory, technological as well as economic and social factors embroiled in the context of autonomous ships.
Inmarsat’s role in the project is to provide the satellite communications link and platform, which is essential to remote control capability. The basis for AAWA’s approach will be to begin with building on existing technologies so as to establish seamless ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication platforms, as this would be the fundamental strength for effective remote control functionality in an autonomous ship of the future. The AAWA initiative will run from 2015 till the end of 2017.
The basis for the entire communication system is from Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service and L-band constellations, the world’s first hybrid Ka/L-band mobile satellite system. Inmarsat has also linked up a maritime magazine “Maritime CEO”, to launch its ideas and views in the future of satellite communications. Three British institutions have claimed that by 2030, unmanned ships will be a common feature.
The ultimate goal of AAWA, would be to combine new technologies to come up with innovative ship designs that will help reduce operational costs, reduce emissions and enhance the earning capability of vessels.