LMT has joined a project exploring the possibilities of creating unique test environments for autonomous ships across Latvia, the UK, and Canada.

In its initial phase, the project will focus on establishing regulatory frameworks for the use of autonomous technologies in the maritime sector. In the future, this could result in forming a unified Remote Operations Centre (ROC) – a single point for all data sources that are essential for safe maritime autonomous operations. 

Autonomous ships and drones, as well as other autonomous objects operating both above and below water, have the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and safety of shipping and port operations. However, the practical deployment of these technologies is hindered by the lack of regulation. Rob Watson, founder of On The Layline, notes that, at the moment, there are no common rules and standards for autonomous watercraft in the world’s seas. 

The project seeks to pave the way for industry standards and regulatory frameworks for water-based autonomy. The first tangible result of this initiative will be a detailed report outlining the overall requirements and development roadmap for a fully-fledged ROC system. The desired end result – joint test beds and ROC systems between the countries involved to test and certify the new generation of technologies in the port and maritime sectors.

The project builds upon the LMT-conducted trials to enable 5G connectivity over open waters.

Seamless connectivity over the sea is a crucial element in the deployment of autonomous watercraft. LMT, in collaboration with the LVR Fleet, has demonstrated that uninterrupted 5G shore-to-ship and ship-to-ship connectivity is possible, and we're aiming to continue these trials to develop this concept further. It's great to see international interest in it, for example, from Plymouth, which is one of the project's partners.

Artūrs Lindenbergs, Head of Innovation Development Division at LMT

In 2023, LMT equipped an LVR Fleet vessel with a 5G network to test mobile connectivity over open waters and plans to continue the development of this technology for the maritime sector.

In this international initiative, Latvia is represented by LMT, Riga Freeport, Ventspils Freeport, Liepaja Special Economic Zone, and Riga Technical University.