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Dec 31, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Rolls-Royce and Finferries launch the world’s first autonomous ferry

The result of a collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Finferries, Falco is the name of the world’s first fully autonomous ferry. The smart boat completed a trial in the waters of Finland’s Turku archipelago on 3 December, a success that could transform shipping beyond recognition.


UK engineering company Rolls-Royce and Finnish state-owned ferry operator Finferries have developed the world’s first fully autonomous ferry, as reported by the website Objetconnecté.net.

Developed as part of a project entitled SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation) and going by the name of Falco, the ferry successfully completed trials in Finland’s Turku archipelago on 3 December. Rolls-Royce and Finferries are striving to make ferries more efficient and safer through autonomous technologies, which could revolutionise shipping.


No human intervention


Like the Spirit of Saint-Malo, a smart yacht that took part in the 2018 Route du Rhum, Falco can sail without the need for human intervention, as it demonstrated on completing its maiden autonomous voyage between the Finnish towns of Parainen and Nauvo.

Equipped with sophisticated sensors, Falco can avoid collisions with obstacles thanks to ship intelligence technology designed by Rolls-Royce. The technology enables it to alter its speed and course when it comes into port. The ferry has undergone no fewer than 400 hours of trials involving a variety of scenarios, completing them all successfully.


Enhanced safety and efficiency


In expressing his delight at the launch of the autonomous ferry, Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce’s president for commercial marine, said it showed the huge potential of ship intelligence technology. In his view, the Falco ferry demonstrates how such technology has major benefits to offer in the safe and efficient operation of ships.

Not content with its aim to revolutionise shipping, the British group is also developing an eVTOL (vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) flying taxi.


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