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Smart Mobility: Electronics technology applied to smart mobility with low impact to the environment, Part 8

The smart mobility approach is based on the automatization of the driving process by means of sensors that monitor the environment surrounding a vehicle. The collected data are converted into digital information that can be analyzed very quickly by smart electronics computing ICs that could represent the brain of the autonomous driving system and becoming the enablers of its “arms” i.e., the actuators, acting on the vehicle accordingly, to realize smart autonomous driving in a safe and effective way. This type of approach has been mainly utilized for transportation on wheels.

Until now.

What would be the advantage of utilizing a container ship, which is able to realize the autonomous transportation of containers with no need for diesel fuel emissions, while moving through sea waters with zero emissions?

The advantages of such a type of solution in terms of money savings would be two-fold: there would be no need of diesel fuel to power the ship and, at the same time, the costs of transportation for trucks would be minimized, with the added bonus of lower risk of highway accidents.

How would that be possible?

The answer to this question is the autonomous ship “Yara Birkeland ”, a project by Kongsberg Maritime Company:

“The vessel Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions. KONGSBERG is responsible for development and delivery of all key enabling technologies including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous ship operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.” (Source: Kongsberg)

Figure 1

The autonomous container ship integrates sensors for communication and autonomous sailing.See this video. (Source: kataweb)

The autonomous container ship integrates sensors for communication and autonomous sailing.See this video. (Source: kataweb)

The autonomous ship, Yara Birkeland , incorporates many smart electronics components like LiDAR , a system that is able to collect the data of the environment around the ship by utilizing laser light (see Figure 2):

“Lidar, which is commonly spelled LiDAR and also known as LADAR or laser altimetry, is an acronym for light detection and ranging. It refers to a remote sensing technology that emits intense, focused beams of light and measures the time it takes for the reflections to be detected by the sensor. This information is used to compute ranges, or distances, to objects. In this manner, lidar is analogous to radar (radio detecting and ranging), except that it is based on discrete pulses of laser light. The three-dimensional coordinates (e.g., x, y, z or latitude, longitude, and elevation) of the target objects are computed from 1) the time difference between the laser pulse being emitted and returned, 2) the angle at which the pulse was “fired,” and 3) the absolute location of the sensor on or above the surface of the Earth.” (Source: NOAA Coastal Services Center)

Figure 2

The lidar system mounted on a ship to help navigation.
(Source: OCULAR ROBOTICS)

The lidar system mounted on a ship to help navigation. (Source: OCULAR ROBOTICS)

The autonomous ship integrates many RADAR systems that are able to identify an obstacle by utilizing radio waves (see Figure 3):

Figure 3

 'The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) around the world to identify and locate vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites.' 
(Source: bluebird-electric.net)

“The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) around the world to identify and locate vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites.” (Source: bluebird-electric.net)

Do you like the idea of an autonomous ship? Do you think that this aspect of IoT technology is really promising to preserve the environment from pollution produced by the wasted fuel discharged by commercial container ships into the oceans?

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