Digitisation and autonomy will bring disruptive changes to waterborne transport, providing competitive advantages to European business, better integrating logistics, changing business models, improving safety, facilitating maintenance, allowing telemetry and shore-based support as well as modifying the role of crew thus raising societal issues that need to be addressed. Whilst the first autonomous prototypes are being deployed, important regulatory and technical challenges remain. Due to the regulatory environment applicable to intercontinental shipping, the first adopters will operate only within national water of a single country or several countries subject to specific agreement. Consequently the first connected and autonomous services are expected to concern inland waterways, short sea shipping, ferries, coastal operations and urban water transport. The challenge is to now develop and demonstrate integrated automation technologies within a real environment.Scope:
To address these challenges, proposals should address the first bullet and several of the following aspects:
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 10 and 20 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
Achieve a breakthrough in automated waterborne transport through demonstration of a fully autonomous vessel targeted towards either inland waterways, short sea, ferry, coastal operation or urban water transport vessel within a relevant environment. Understand the social economic and regulatory factors of autonomous waterborne transport. Enable establishment of the first commercial automated water transport services within 5 years. Enhance European competitiveness and support European jobs and growth.