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Digitalization sets new course for marine traffic - TUT and Rolls-Royce join forces

Rolls-Royce is establishing a research centre for remote-controlled and autonomous marine crafts in Turku. Tampere University of Technology acts as a strategic partner to Rolls-Royce's international Marine unit.
Remote-controlled ships are expected to be faring the world’s seas by the end of the decade.
Remote-controlled ships are expected to be faring the world’s seas by the end of the decade.

Strategic partnership with Rolls-Royce is an important accomplishment for research at TUT. This collaboration is a part of TUT’s “Smart machines” profile area for research.

TUT has achieved its expertise in this area through high-quality training in mechanical engineering that has produced a large number of experts working in the field. Scientific research has likewise played an important part in gathering knowledge and experience in autonomous systems.

“The Academy of Finland’s research centre GIM, established in 2005, has been but one source of excellent research in the field. GIM’s research concerned the development of autonomous working machinery. The ongoing Aawa proiect funded by Tekes concentrates specifically on autonomous machines in marine settings,” professor Kalevi Huhtala says. “These are just some of the reasons why TUT is significant partner to Rolls-Royce.”

According to Mikael Mäkinen, President of Rolls-Royce’s Marine unit, digitalization will set a new course for the future of the shipping industry, and Rolls-Royce seeks to pioneer the development of remote-controlled and autonomous vessels.

“We hold an excellent position to lead the way into the future of sea traffic and guide collaboration with industry, universities, and governments. Our ambition is to have remote-controlled ships faring the world’s seas commercially by the end of the decade."

The new research centre in Turku will be fully operational later this year. The research centre is also recruiting new staff.

Rolls-Royce’s strategic partners include VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Tampere University of Technology. In addition, the company is involved in a number of collaboration projects with small and medium-sized enterprises and start-up companies. Rolls-Royce is also a founding member of the world’s first autonomous marine traffic ecosystem, a collaboration project coordinated by DIMECC Oy.

MSc training in mechanical engineering in Turku

The technology industry and especially marine technology are on the rise in Turku and Southwest Finland, and experts in these fields are in high demand. To meet this demand, a number of Finnish higher education institutions have collaborated to found a new MSc-level training programme in mechanical engineering in Turku (link in Finnish).

The two-year training programme will begin again in autumn 2017. The programme is being developed to meet the needs of the marine and automotive industries. The training programme is a collaboration between TUT, University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.

TUT is also involved in training the staff for the new research centre. The training concentrates on the themes of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.

Further information:

Professor Kalevi Huhtala, tel. +358 40 849 0512,
Vice President for Research Jarmo Takala, tel. +358 40 541 6897,
Vice President for Education Petri Suomala, tel. +358 40 591 8044,

Photo: Rolls-Royce

News submitted by: Riku Haapaniemi
Keywords: education and studies, science and research, services and collaboration, smart machines, autonomous systems, remote-controlled ships, rolls-royce, vtt