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Russia Unveils a Number of Unmanned Shipping Test Projects

Russia unveils a number of unmanned shipping test projects and implementation of proper regulationThe Marinet Conference on the most promising maritime high technologies held at SMM 2018 on 5 September 2018 gathered representatives of international companies and scientific centres. The Conference programme included panel discussions on digital navigation and unmanned shipping as well as maritime robotics fest.

The panel discussion on unmanned shipping involved representatives of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Aker Arctic, Air and Maritime Electronics (AME), DANAOS Management Consultants, Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO), Kronshtadt Tecnologies, ShipServ, Engineering Center of Shipbuilding (ECS).

When speaking at the Conference, ECS General Director Aleksey Donskoy told about the successful project of AME on creation of an unmanned boat and about the conversion of the developed technologies for civil ships. Together with AME, ECS is going to launch pilot projects on testing autonomous navigation and remote-control systems this year and continue them in 2019, dealing consequently with a sea/river bulker, small tanker, and later on, with a ferry and an icebreaker.

Aleksey Rakhmanov, head of United Shipbuilding Corporation, told about the beginning of innovative unmanned vessel construction at Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard (USC) in 2018.

According to Aleksey Rakhmanov, construction of unmanned ships is only possible after solutions are found to principal issues of international cooperation.  He believes it is important to define common principles of onshore infrastructure development, work with prototypes and models.

Vitaly Klyuev, representative of Federal Marine and River Transport Agency (Rosmorrechflot), told in his turn about intense development of regulatory frameworks for unmanned shipping being carried out in Russia. The expert expects the regulations as early as in the beginning of 2019. So, Russia is to be the first or among the first countries to create legal platform for autonomous and remotely operated vessels.

“As of today, there is no international definition of an unmanned ship or its categories, current regulations are based on presence of people onboard,” said Vitaly Klyuev.

The discussion participants concluded that among the key factors ensuring fast development of unmanned shipping are regulatory framework and infrastructure with a significant role to be played by state authorities and international regulators.