Sitting in a sleek, white chair with joysticks and touch screens at his fingertips, René Malmstrøm looks more like an actor rehearsing on the set of Star Trek than a tugboat captain.
The captain is doing his usual job, sailing Svitzer Hermod around Copenhagen harbour, but instead of standing onboard he is sailing it remotely from this futuristic chair in an office half a kilometre away.
Svitzer Hermod is the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel and the result of a long collaboration between Rolls Royce and Maersk.
More than a toe in the water
For Maersk, this an important first step as it explores a range of autonomous technologies and their potential commercial and operational benefits.
“We firmly believe that advanced technologies that build on autonomous principles can help further improve safe, efficient and reliable working environments and operations across the container logistics value chain – from ports and terminals to tugs and container ships,” says Svitzer CEO, Henriette Thygesen.