Watch: First tugboat sailing autonomously the most optimal route


In the summer of 2018, KOTUG and Rotortug already demonstrated remote operation of the tugboat in the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. That was the first step on the roadmap towards fully autonomous sailing.

In collaboration with Captain AI, it is now possible to safely sail the Rotortug “RT Borkum” autonomously on the river Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam using the Captain AI Route Planner and Autopilot.

The route planner can be seen as the Google Maps for waterways. It calculates the route, which the boat then autonomously sails, using our autopilot software,

…says Vincent Wegener of Captain AI.

To define this route as efficiently as possible, Captain AI’s software is connected to the KOTUG Optiport dispatch planning software, enabling optimized route planning in real-time, based on AIS data and Artificial Intelligence.

The demonstration took place at the Smart Shipping event of the Netherlands Forum for Smart Shipping. However, the “RT Borkum” already has undergone several successful operational tests in the busiest port of Europe.

The next step of the partnership is making the software suitable for large-scale applications and to explore matters such as safety and legislation, in consultation with the users and legislators.

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