Recently, Marinminds BV and Workumer Yachtservice started testing sensors and autonomous systems for maritime use.
For the first tests a ‘lemsteraak’ was used equipped with the latest sensor technology, as this type of vessel – a stable traditional Frisian sailing ship with excellent sailing characteristics – was considered to be best suited for gathering useful data regarding the vessel itself as well as its environment.
In the small town of Workum and in collaboration with Oosannen Naval Architects and Workumer Yachtservice, Marinminds is developing autonomous systems for maritime industries, thereby combining a wide range of existing as well as new technologies in integrated single products such as for instance a digital instrument display unit featuring sensor systems, laser scanners, object recognition systems, manoeuvre & route planning as well as collision avoidance systems. Benefitting from the great amount of know-how and experience regarding autonomous systems gained in the automotive industry, similar technologies are being applied in and – where necessary adjusted to – a maritime (testing) environment.
One of the testing sites was the Heegermeer. The Frysian lakes and canals offer an excellent testing environment due to their combination of space and diverse environmental conditions (many harbours, jetties, bridges, etc.). In addition, there are many locations which also offer both commercial as well as water sport traffic. Thus, a wide range of realistic scenarios can be tested.