Hi-tech Tugs

For tug boats, the future is now

Working together on a project called "The Best In Control", Alphatron, Kotug, Rotortug, Veth Propulsion, OnBoard and M2MBlue bundled their strengths to create a remote-controlled guidance system for tugs. This system enables a tug to sail unmanned, with the captain controlling and steering the tug from shore, even across great distance.

Sector

Industry Maritime

Each partner contributed something vital to this project’s success:

  • Rotortug; Owner of the tug used in this project, the RT Borkum.
  • Kotug; Overall project manager.
  • Alphatron; Installed the camera visualization and system integration in the consoles.
  • Veth; Integrated the steering and engine control system to switch from local console to remote control and vice versa.
  • OnBoard; Installed the conversion of the steering and engine control signal to internet protocol and vice versa.
  • M2MBlue; Responsible for the entire IT system. Integrated a stable data connection with a VPN tunnel: an optimized data connection with LAN and 4G bundles combined. The data stream is determined by the number of cameras and the volume of nautical information (e.g. Radar, Ecdis ) that is being displayed.

This remote-controlled sailing system has now been demonstrated successfully several times. The most important demonstrations:

The first demonstration was given during the ITS 2018 in Marseille, the world’s top convention & exhibition for tugs, salvage and OSVs. Alphatron exhibited at the ITS and installed a ship’s bridge on their stand. Their tug, the ‘’RT Borkum’’ was anchored in Rotterdam, approximately a thousand kilometers away. From Alphatron’s bridge in Marseille, the Borkum was controlled and steered over the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam.

During the Innovation Expo 2018 at the RDM port in Rotterdam, with over 4000 visitors. The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, was present and showed her interest in this project by visiting the RT Borkum. Spectators during the Innovation Expo demonstrations were also in for a bit of a surprise; besides remote-controlled steering, the tug was also equipped to remotely control firefighting! The onshore captain was able to remotely extinguish a fire without any onboard assistance.

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