RWTH Aachen Develops Systems for Fully Automated Shipping


In the "Galileo nautic" project universities are conducting research on autonomous and cooperating ships.


Autonomous systems are the topic of the future in global mobility. Under the direction of RWTH Aachen researchers are now developing systems for fully automated shipping. "Systems that act independently and cooperate with each other and which effectively utilize resources with increased safety are crucial for increasing mobility," explains engineering René Zweigel, academic staff member at the Institute of Automatic Control and head of "Galileo nautic," the joint project that began in July 2016. Scientists from five universities are developing project systems for the maritime sector over the course of two years with 1.6 million Euros of funding provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The researchers are drawing on the European satellite navigation system "Galileo," which is expected to enable the high precision and reliable positioning and navigation.

Becoming More Efficient, Avoiding Accidents

"These satellite-supported systems can be usedeverywhere, where ships encounter each other and quick actions must be made, for example in harbors or narrow waterways," says Zweigel. Fully automated ships allow for safer and more efficient shipping, says the expert: "The number of accidents is consistently increasing. They are usually due to human error and would have been avoidable with interventions during the decision-making process." In the first phase, an autonomous, networked prototype of ship model will be created. In a potential second phase, the project will be transitioned from unmanned water vehicles to real, large ships.

RWTH Aachen, whose research share amounts to 260,000 Euros, is working together on this joint project with the University of Bremen, the University of Rostock, the University of Wismar, and the IT company SCISYS.

"Galileo nautic“ is a supplement to the Institute of Automatic Control's research in this field thus far. RWTH is also involved in other programs with the European satellite system: "Galileo above," with the test area "railGATE" established under RWTH's direction for train travel in the Test and Validation Center Wegberg-Wildenrath at Siemens and the test area "automotiveGATE" at the Aldenhoven Testing Center in Aldenhoven-Siersdorf. In the project "Galileo Online: GO!" RWTH and five other partners are developing a receiver for trains, which can immediately forward the position and useful additional information such as the maintenance data of a train after a signal is interrupted. Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system will be completely operational in 2020.

RWTH Aachen Institute of Automatic Control

The RWTH Aachen Institute of Automatic Control possess a long tradition. It was founded by professor Otto Schäfer in 1957. Professor Dirk Abel has served as head of the institute since 2001. The IRT's research focuses include processes of predictive and robust control, the modelling of control systems, and automatization of autonomously acting vehicles and process facilities. The IRT applies the most modern approaches in control engineering in applications in the fields of energy engineering, automotive engineering, combustion engineering, medical technology, industrial technology, and satellite-supported naviation

Source: Press and Communications