Real-life Testing of Intelligent Harbour Tug in Singapore

Following the installation of a first-of-its-kind Dynamic Positioning (DP) system onboard the harbour tug PSA Polaris, trials are now being carried out in the Port of Singapore under real-world conditions. The tests are part of the IntelliTug project being carried out by technology group Wärtsilä and towage operator PSA Marine.

The new DP system, also known as the Joystick Manoeuvring System (JMS), enables easier and more intuitive control of the tug’s movement. With the push of a button, the tug master can achieve “virtual anchoring” to hold position and/or maintain the tug’s heading. The DP system also forms the foundational technology layer for the IntelliTug project, enabling digital navigation instructions to be passed to the vessel’s propulsion systems. The system has received a Statement of Compliance from Lloyd’s Register for the DP notation, thereby endorsing its safety, reliability and performance.

Smart Tugboat Operations

As part of the IntelliTug project, Wärtsilä and PSA Marine are developing and field-testing intelligent vessel capabilities and viable pathways to achieve safe and sustainable autonomous operations. The IntelliTug project is about creating a smart tug that can enhance the capabilities of the tug master by autonomously performing a range of routine missions. This will ease the task of addressing the complex demands faced by tug masters on a daily basis.

‘The IntelliTug project is about discovering smarter, safer, and more efficient ways of operating a harbour tug,’ says Bernard Wong, Head of Fleet Management at PSA Marine. ‘It incorporates human-centric technology, design thinking, and man–machine collaboration. We are on a journey of turning today’s ideas into tomorrow’s reality.’

Simulation and Training

The PSA Marine tug masters involved in the IntelliTug project underwent simulation and onboard training before commencing actual operating trials onboard PSA Polaris. Wärtsilä and PSA Marine will continue development of the IntelliTug project throughout the coming months, including physical test-bedding and trials in Singapore port waters.

Picture: Following installation of the Dynamic Positioning (DP) system onboard the PSA Polaris, trials are now being carried out in the Port of Singapore under real-world conditions.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.