The Finferries autonomous ferry, 'Falco', docked near Turku (Image: Lehtikuva)


AS PART OF A COLLABORATION BETWEEN STATE-OWNED FINFERRIES AND ENGINEERING GIANT ROLLS ROYCE, the world’s first successful autonomous ferry ride was completed in the waters of the Turku archipelago recently.

In a press statement from Rolls Royce, the company has claimed that the voyage, which was attended by 80 VIP guests, marks the “most significant milestone” so far for autonomous shipping.

The vessel chosen for the voyage was a 53-metre double-ended car ferry called Falco, which had been in service with Finferries since 1993. The two companies have been working together in Finland for years to develop technology that would remove completely the need for a ship crew.

The so-called SVAN Project involved fitting out the ship with similar technology to that used in driverless cars, as well as Rolls Royce’s recently-completed Autodocking System which allows large vessels to dock without human assistance.

In the same press statement the CEO of Finferries, Mats Rosin, said that “We are very proud that maritime history has been made on the Parainen-Nauvo-route once again… this demonstration opens the door to the new possibilities of autonomous shipping and safety”.


Adam Oliver Smith – HT

Image: Lehtikuva