Namely, under their collaboration, University of Antwerp carried out a research focused on 3D sonar sensors and how they enable unmanned sailing.
Automated navigation is the future of inland shipping. It may sound futuristic, but innovative research carried out by UAntwerp and the Port of Antwerp is bringing us one step closer to this dream. The key: 3D sonar sensors, inspired by the way bats see the world.
…as Port of Antwerp noted.
What is more, by focusing on technology such as unmanned navigation, partners aim to further increase both the market share and the competitiveness of inland shipping.
Unmanned vessels can lead to substantial cost savings, as well as provide an answer to our increasing traffic congestion problems and the rising costs of road transport. Smart vessels definitely have a part to play in the multimodal transport approach that the Port of Antwerp wants to help develop further.
… Port of Antwerp said in a press release.
As explained, in order to achieve fully autonomous navigation, constant monitoring of the ship’s surroundings is absolutely crucial.
Although, cameras can be used, when visibility is poor due to dust, water sprays, mud, smoke or fog, they don’t work properly.
Sonar sensors, however, remain fully functional under such circumstances. They can provide a reliable picture of the ship’s surroundings at a low cost.
…as Prof. Jan Steckel. At CoSys-Lab, a research group in UAntwerp’s Faculty of Applied Engineering, said.
Therefore, for the project with Port of Antwerp, the researchers developed a 3D sonar sensor with 32 sophisticated waterproof microphones.
Specifically, the project is called eRTIS, which stands for ’embedded Real Time Imaging Sonar’.
The information is transmitted in real time, because if there are any delays, the ship could crash into something. The ‘Imaging Sonar’ part refers to reflected sound waves hitting the sensors to create a picture of the surroundings.