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Page updated 9.6.2023

The autonomous traffic test vessel developed by Turku UAS will sail in the archipelago in the summer

Remotely controlled, automated and autonomous vehicles are a growing industry with high expectations in terms of productivity, ecology, and safety. Finland is one of the pioneering countries in research into automated and autonomous vehicles.

The vessel is the first electric propulsion workboat in Finland. The test vessel, which is about seven meters long, is equipped with various sensors and its purpose is to collect important data from the maritime operating environment for machine learning enabling autonomous mobility. Machine learning algorithms can be used to create situational awareness of the vessel's surroundings and to make autonomous navigation decisions, e.g. to optimise the route travelled or to dodge other passers-by. 

–  The test vessel will bring automated maritime traffic functions utilising artificial intelligence and, in the long term, autonomous vessels closer to operational and commercial use, says Jarkko Paavola, Principal Lecturer at Turku University of Applied Sciences and leader of the Wireless Communication and Cybersecurity research group. 

Turku University of Applied Sciences has been researching autonomous shipping for several years. In addition to the physical test vessel, Turku University of Applied Sciences is also developing a remote operation centre for the test vessel so that the autonomous vessel can move independently at sea. 

– To monitor the operation of AI algorithms, we need a centre from which operations can be controlled and monitored without us physically on board. Remote monitoring and remote operations are particularly useful in applications where there is a limited number of experts with the required competence for the task and the distances to physical operating sites are long, says Juha Kalliovaara, Chief Specialist at Turku UAS. 

The hull of the Turku autonomous traffic test vessel was built and delivered by Alpo Pro Boats Oy. The components related to electric propulsion have been supplied by Electromarine Oy and Tstechnik Oy has supplied most of the navigation electronics. The test vessel project has been sponsored by, among others, Wallas-Marine Oy and Epec Oy. The autonomous traffic test vessel has received funding from REACT-EU ERDF funding.

–  We are grateful for the support and courage of our partners to be involved in developing the maritime transport of the future, Kalliovaara continues. 

Get to know the research group!