For the first time, a video demonstrating the real operation of automatic and remote control was presented to a broad audience during the Conference on a-Navigation on the 28th of April
The Conference was arranged by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation with IMO’s support and in partnership with the Industry Association MARINET and the a-Navigation Promotion Center “MARINET RUT” on the eve of the 103rd session of the Maritime Safety Committee.
“This year, we are completing a large-scale a-Navigation Trial Project – in real conditions – and beginning a national experiment on the trial operation of autonomous vessels under the Russian flag. In December last year, the Russian government, the Flag State administration, approved the Decree on conducting such an experiment, considering the IMO’s Interim Guidelines for the Maritime Autonomous Ships Trials. In accordance with it, any shipping company will be able to equip its ships under the Russian flag with autonomous navigation systems and operate them in their regular activities as part of the national experiment,” said Alexander Poshivai, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation inviting Conference participants to enjoy the video of an example of a-Navigation Trial Project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgoTVbOR7t4
The sea trials demonstrating technical solutions in real operation are held on board several vessels belonging to Pola Group (general cargo ship “Pola Anfisa”), SCF (tanker “Mikhail Ulyanov”), and Rosmorport (the dredging convoy, “Redut” and “Rabochaya”), as reported by the head of Russian Industry Association MARINET, the leader of a-Navigation developments, Mr. Alexander Pinskiy.
“We have developed our functional-based approach, named the Complete Functional Equivalence Principle, and the complete system architecture utilizing the maximum of the existing technologies used by shipping companies.
The Complete Functional Equivalence Principle supposes that an autonomous ship shall fulfill the functions prescribed today for the crew on board by the current safety regulation. Implementation of this approach guarantees that MASS will be guided by and perform well-known and mandatory functions when interacting with other actors. So, it makes the MASS operation foreseeable and understandable for everyone, removing the fears about unpredictable Artificial Intelligence black-box systems. At the same time, it also allows MASS operation to fit the existing framework of international regulation as is, without requiring any immediate change pre-implementation,” Alexander Pinskiy emphasized.
Heike Deggim, Director of IMO Maritime Safety Division, regarded the achievements and progress made by the Russian colleagues in promoting a-Navigation. “The Conference raised a number of issues that were not considered before. I do hope that the technical work will be continued to enable MASS to operate. And this is the burden of all member states, not only IMO Secretariat. And we expect all member states to consider what issues exactly need to be technically addressed at IMO and solutions to be internationally agreed and implemented.”
“I am glad to see Russia’s progress in trial activities and stand for information sharing,” added Henrik Tunfors, Chair MASS Working Group of IMO’s Maritime Safety Division.
The videos of the Conference and the example of the tests under a-Navigation Trial Project are available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxYMK4ooqw2DuwWgVPi20Jw