Keppel to develop autonomous tug for operations in Singapore

Image: KST (file)
Image: KST (file) – A Keppel Smit Towage tug

Keppel Offshore and Marine (Keppel O&M), through its wholly owned subsidiary Keppel Singmarine, has begun developing an autonomous tug that is expected to be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2020.

The tug, which will be operated by Keppel Smit Towage (KST), is expected to be one of the first autonomous vessels in Singapore.

Keppel O&M has secured a S$2 million (US$1.47 million) grant from the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to develop the tug.

This follows the memorandum of understanding signed by Keppel O&M, MPA, and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS) in April 2018 to jointly develop autonomous vessels for a variety of applications including undertaking harbour operations such as channeling, berthing, mooring, and towing.

The project will involve modifying a 65-tonne tug by retrofitting advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, and collision detection and avoidance.

An onshore command centre will also be set up to remotely control the tug.

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