ESA to Partner with One Sea Alliance
A Memorandum of Intent covering future collaboration has been signed by the organization orchestrating space programmes for 22 European countries and the coordinators of One Sea, the industry alliance bringing together exponents of autonomous ship technology.
The agreement, between One Sea coordinator DIMECC and the European Space Agency (ESA), sets out common objectives to encourage the development of space-based applications to analyse, enable and implement maritime digitalization and autonomy using latest generation connectivity.
The One Sea alliance gathers together key stakeholders from the maritime and ICT industries to accelerate the delivery of digitalized solutions to market. It does so under the guidance of DIMECC (Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation), which has been established to support strategic research, development and innovation. ESA’s participation aligns with the space agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunication Systems (ARTES) Business Applications program, which aims at supporting European players in delivering commercial products and services that benefit user communities across a number of vertical domains.
“This is an important statement of intent, through which One Sea and the ESA acknowledge the significance that ongoing digitalization 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 belonging to one of the signatories to achieve common goals. The MoI makes explicit reference to the future use of DIMECC’s Jaakonmeri test area for autonomous vessels - the first dedicated test zone worldwide for autonomous ship technology, located off western Finland. Finnish regulators have authorized One Sea to oversee future trials in the area.
Momentum continues to build for One Sea. Members ABB, Kongsberg Maritime and Wärtsilä ran separate autonomous ship trials off the Finnish and Norwegian coasts at the end of 2018. Last month, three global maritime sector influencers joined the One Sea alliance, after satellite group Inmarsat and NYK Group research subsidiary MTI (Monohakobi Technology Institute) became full members and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) signed up as an associate member.