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Finland puts robotics on the collision path

A government programme in Finland is helping a group of companies to develop the “first autonomous shipping solutions in the world”.
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The Finnish Government has established digitaization as key policy priority, setting up a national “digitalization strategy.” The Finnish marine an maritime sectors are playing a role through a Ministry of Transport and Communications programme to develop an “Autonomous Maritime ecosystem” with the aim to “ provide world’s first unmanned maritime products, services and vivid ecosystem by 2025”

The Ministry is committed to enabling the testing of autonomous vessels in Finland, and project funding is being led by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

“We are especially enthusiastic about colliding our world class ICT start-up scene with strong maritime players. New networks will boost exchanging ideas and create pioneering community for intelligent shipping”, said programme manager Piia Moilanen from Tekes.

The collision is expected to result in a “common roadmap for reaching autonomous marine operations”. The roadmap process will be led by DIMECC (which stands for Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation), itself a “co-creation ecosystem” that draws from a network of over 2000 professionals, including members from maritime ICT and software companies. 

Familiar players involved include Wärtsilä, which said the initial focus will be on developing a fully autonomous system cargo ships and freight transport on the Baltic Sea by 2025.
"This is an important and ambitious project and we are very happy to be involved. Wärtsilä is contributing its technological know-how and experience and fully supports the project's goals. We are happy to work and cooperate with other industry players for the ultimate benefit of the industry as a whole," says Mikael Simelius, Vice President, Marketing, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.
Cargotec companies MacGregor and Kalmar are also involved in the project. "For decades, Cargotec's business areas MacGregor and Kalmar have been pioneering solutions on-board and at ports for efficient and safe cargo flow solutions," said Soili Mäkinen, CIO at Cargotec. "This initiative is in line with our ambitions, and we are excited to be part of it. We invite all industry stakeholders to collaborate in this area."
Pasi Lehtonen, SVP, Marketing, Business Development and Strategy, MacGregor, added: "In order to boost industry transformation, MacGregor has called for an industry renewal discussion under the theme "So much potential - let's not waste it". Productivity developments will be driven by advancements in connectivity and digitalisation, along with new business models and capabilities. Autonomous maritime transportation is a perfect example of such new capability."
Speaking for Kalmar, Tommi Pettersson, Vice President, Software and Automation Development said: ”Kalmar is pleased to collaborate with industry leaders in finding ways to expand automation in the maritime logistics chain. This initiative has great potential to help in increasing safety and productivity not only in container ports but in the whole maritime industry”.

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