Rolls-Royce Opens Autonomous Ship Research Center in Finland

Research & Development Centre for Autonomous Ships finland
Rolls-Royce hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Research & Development Centre for Autonomous Ships in Turku, Finland, January 25, 2018. Photo: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has opened a state-of-the-art research facility in Turku, Finland, designed to aid in the further development of autonomous ship technology for the global shipping industry.

The new Research & Development Centre for Autonomous Ships includes a Remote and Autonomous Experience Space aimed at showcasing the autonomous ship technologies Rolls-Royce has already introduced, as well as those in the development stage.

“There is great global interest in autonomous vehicles and vessels as a future means of transport,” said Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner. “The opening of the Rolls-Royce Research & Development Centre for Autonomous Ships here in Turku, a maritime city with a history of technological innovation, will help achieve our goal of digitalizing the country’s transport sector.”

The new R&D Centre enables Rolls-Royce and its partners to carry out projects focussed on autonomous navigation, the development of land-based control centers, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.

Speaking at the official opening on 25 January 2018, Rolls-Royce President Marine Mikael Makinen said: “I’m proud to say that the R&D centre is now up and running and that all stakeholders, partners and customers will be able to see here what a remote-controlled and autonomous maritime future could look like, and work with us to shape the future. The experience space that is part of the center here in Turku, and a similar one we have in our Technology Centre in Norway, is aimed at demonstrating to our customers the very tangible benefits of what is often considered an intangible technology.”

The opening of the center comes exactly six years after Rolls-Royce launched its first-ever autonomous ship development project, known as the User Experience for Complex Systems, or UXUS.

“The center allows us to more accurately communicate our capabilities, what we have available today and what will be available tomorrow,” said Karno Tenovuo, Rolls-Royce Senior Vice President of Ship Intelligence. “It will completely focus on the development of solutions capable of smoothing the maritime industry’s transition to the digital age. An autonomous maritime ecosystem will open up unprecedented opportunities.”