Autonomous sea-going vessels likely to be launched before driverless cars

The vast majority of the world’s goods are shipped – quite literally – by sea. According to the International Maritime Organization, 90 per cent of the world’s trade is carried by ships and boats. 

The IMO adds that the sea “is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world”.

So while we’re all waiting for drones and driverless vehicles to deliver our online shopping orders by road and by air, it seems the really big trends are all at sea.  Continue reading Autonomous sea-going vessels likely to be launched before driverless cars

China says its Belt & Road initiative is a way out of the global economic slump

China is planning to create what looks like will be the largest, longest and most complex logistics network in history – at a cost to itself of almost $1 trillion. 

The so-called Belt & Road Initiative will virtually encircle China, most of Asia and much of Europe, and will mostly consist of interconnected roads, but will also include sea lanes and railways, and possibly some airways.

In total, it will connect approximately 60 countries, and cost anything between $4 trillion and $8 trillion. And the timescale is anyone’s guess.

The northern parts of the Belt & Road network will include the revival of the ancient Silk Road, which connected China to Persia and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and India, Indonesia and Arabia via sea lanes to the south.  Continue reading China says its Belt & Road initiative is a way out of the global economic slump

Rough seas: Resistors for severe environments

Container ship New Orleans

Resistor liquid cooling boosts 3.3kV medium voltage loads, and slashes resistor footprint in industrial and marine applications, as David Atkins, projects director at Cressall Resistors explains

In motor driven applications like cranes, lifts, hoists and conveyors, air cooled resistors are common, but in medium voltage, high power applications liquid cooling wins out.

A medium voltage drive running off a 3.3kV supply to turn a 500kW motor will put a severe heating load on the application’s power transistors – hence the need for water cooling.

The new EV2 advanced water cooled modular resistor range for low and medium voltage applications is especially designed to function in severe environments, like the ones marine systems have to function in.

This patented design encapsulates and completely separates the resistor elements from the coolant.  Continue reading Rough seas: Resistors for severe environments

Startup company Sea Machines developing self-driving technology for which can be added to traditional boats

sea-machines-self-driving-boat-tech

Boston-based startup Sea Machines is developing autonomous technologies that will enable traditional boats to become self-driving vessels. 

The company says its development heralds a smarter, safer and more efficient era of marine operations brought forward through self-aware and self-driving boats and ships.

With autonomy readily making its way into many traditional land-based and airborne sectors, the massive marine domain is even better suited for autonomous systems with fewer barriers to entry, a high risk operating environment, and an accommodating regulatory space.

More than 20 million vessels are plying the world’s waters including 15 million recreational boats and 100,000 cargo ships; Sea Machines foresees autonomy disrupting this largely manual sector and rapidly developing into a $60 billion space.  Continue reading Startup company Sea Machines developing self-driving technology for which can be added to traditional boats

Liquid Robotics ocean robot swims 3,000 miles to protect fish in Hawaii

liquid robotics wave rider

Liquid Robotics says its Wave Glider ocean robot swam 2,808 nautical miles (5,200 km) to the Big Island of Hawaii after successfully completing a four-month patrol mission of the Pitcairn Island Marine Sanctuary.

This achievement represents a fundamental enabling capability for unmanned systems as it proves the feasibility and flexibility of autonomous mission deployment.

Using the Wave Glider platform, Liquid Robotics’ customers are able to deploy sensors in the most remote marine locations without sending a large ship for recovery.  Continue reading Liquid Robotics ocean robot swims 3,000 miles to protect fish in Hawaii

Who is more connected – an astronaut or a sailor?

astronauts v sailors

With a strong Wi-Fi signal and your trusty smartphone, it’s easy to stay connected on land – but how do things change when you’re in the middle of the ocean or orbiting in space?

They’re both extreme scenarios, but which is better for communication? A company called Global Navigation Solutions investigated who can communicate better – crew or astronauts? And came up with a report and an infographic.  Continue reading Who is more connected – an astronaut or a sailor?

Logistics companies utilising robotics and automation at ports to optimise operations

cemat ports forum

This season’s CeMAT Port Forum is themed Seaports as Opportunities for Logistics Chain Optimization and will feature high-power speakers from government, port companies and port customers.

Keynote topics this year include shippers’ rising expectations of the quality and punctuality of international and intermodal logistics chains and the growing capacity shortages in hinterland infrastructure, as well as robotics and automation. Intralogistics topics will also be on the agenda.

Port operators are increasingly meeting these challenges through ongoing investment in modern handling, warehousing and IT technology. Moreover, logistics companies are increasingly exploring new robotics and automation technology for ports and warehousing operations.  Continue reading Logistics companies utilising robotics and automation at ports to optimise operations