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Latvia, UK and Canada to Create Unique Test Environment for Robotic Ships

23rd of February
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The international project will develop a solution for a single Remote Operations Centre (ROC). Latvia is represented in the project by the Free Ports of Riga and Ventspils, Liepaja Special Economic Zone, «Latvijas Mobilais Telefons» and Riga Technical University.

In the Freeport of Riga, port, maritime, ICT professionals and researchers from the three countries are working together in a workshop on 22 and 23 February on the ROC solution platform, which will be the basis for an advanced shipping and port test-bed in each of the project partner countries.

«The next generation of shipping and port technologies is currently evolving at a very fast pace, mainly due to the development and entry into our lives of various autonomous objects. Autonomous ships, various autonomous navigating objects operating both above and below water, as well as autonomous flying drones - all these technologies are designed to improve the efficiency and safety of shipping and port operations by working together. But the main challenge and issue that needs to be addressed to enable these technologies to perform their intended functions is the lack of regulation - common rules and standards for autonomous floating vehicles in the world's seas, » said Rob Watson, founder of «On The Layline», the UK's maritime innovation company and lead partner in the project.

The ROC solution would create a system that is complete and able to provide a single platform for all the data sources needed for safe maritime autonomy operations. This platform is vital to help the successful development of the related industry as well as to develop standards and regulatory frameworks for the use of autonomy on water. The development of these standards and frameworks will accelerate the deployment of new systems as well as international cooperation between countries and the use of relevant testing platforms.

Participation in the ROC development project provides an opportunity for the Port of Riga to become a unique testing ground for next-generation maritime technologies, while increasing the overall high value-added activity in the port, attracting high-value investments and generating new revenues through active participation in the data economy, according to Ansis Zeltiņš, the Freeport of Riga's manager, who assesses the positive benefits of the project. 

The project will result in a comprehensive report outlining the overall requirements and development roadmap for a fully fledged ROC system. The report is a first stepping stone to bring together partner countries for long-term cooperation. The further goal is to establish joint test-beds and ROC systems to test and certify next generation technologies in the port and maritime sectors, says Neils Kalniņš, coordinator of the consortium of Latvian partners and head of the 5G Techritory Ecosystem at «Elektroniskie sakari».

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