A far reaching Memorandum of Intent (MoI) covering future collaboration has been signed by the European Space Agency (ESA), which coordinates space programmes for 22 European countries, and One Sea, an alliance of leading exponents of autonomous ship technology.
The agreement sets out common objectives to encourage the development of space-based applications to analyse, enable and implement maritime digitalisation and autonomy using latest generation connectivity.
“This is an important statement of intent, through which One Sea and the ESA acknowledge the significance that ongoing digitalisation and autonomy have for the maritime industries,” says Jukka Merenluoto, One Sea lead.
“Expertise from different disciplines is necessary to transform today’s connectivity capabilities for tomorrow’s needs, and this MoI represents a unique opportunity to develop applications and services that leverage assets on the ground and in space.”
The knowledge-sharing agreement foresees using resources, expertise and facilities jointly to achieve common goals.
The MoI makes explicit reference to the future use of the Jaakonmeri test area for autonomous vessels – the first dedicated test zone in the world for autonomous ship technology, located off western Finland.
Finnish regulators have authorized One Sea to oversee future trials within the area.
Last month, One Sea was joined by Inmarsat, NYK Group research subsidiary MTI (Monohakobi Technology Institute), and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA).
Other leading members include ABB, Ericsson, and Kongsberg Maritime.
One Sea describes itself as “an open ecosystem that can be joined by anyone who intends to do business in autonomous shipping”.