First remotely operated workboat demonstration

Rolls-Royce and Svitzer have successfully demonstrated the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in Copenhagen harbour, Denmark.

One of Svitzer’s tugs, the 28-metre Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled manoeuvres. From the quay side in Copenhagen harbour the vessel’s captain, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ, before docking again.

The companies have signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels. The primary systems involved will be autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control centre and communication.

The Svitzer Hermod is equipped with a Rolls-Royce dynamic positioning system, which is the key link to the remote controlled system. The vessel is powered by a pair of MTU 16V4000 M63 diesel engines, each rated 2,000kW at 1,800rpm.

The vessel also features a range of sensors which combine different data inputs using advanced software to give the captain an enhanced understanding of the vessel and its surroundings. The data is transmitted reliably and securely to a “remote operating centre” (ROC) from where the captain controls the vessel.

The ROC was designed to redefine the way in which vessels are controlled. Instead of copying existing wheelhouse design the ROC used input from experienced captains to place the different system components in the optimum place to give the master confidence and control. The aim is to create a future proof standard for the control of vessels remotely.


Throughout the demonstration the vessel had a fully qualified captain and crew on board to ensure safe operation in the event of a system failure.

Baird Maritime

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