Rolls-Royce Holdings and Singapore’s Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine (TCOMS) have reached a “memorandum of understanding” detailing their plans for a partnership to develop smart ship technologies. The schedule for their efforts was not detailed, but the “strategic partnership” will see Rolls — which is developing technologies for remote-controlled and autonomous ships — work with TCOMS on technologies that include smart sensing, digital twinning, and integrated modeling, which are considered essential to establishing “marine data-based solutions.”

They added that their developments would be applied to technology demonstrators to show how specific ship types can use them.

“Smart ships,” the colloquial term for the various applications of automation and Big Data to maritime transport and logistics, which is seen as enhancing connectivity and allowing shipping lines to communicate more securely and effectively.

Rolls-Royce already is developing remote controlled and autonomous ship technologies, coordinating secure data analytics from across the enterprise —civil aerospace, defense, nuclear power, marine — and has predicted a remote-controlled ship in commercial use by the end of this decade.

“By developing demonstrator technology around sensors, data analytics, and the Marine Internet of Things we will see ships become more reliable, more efficient and more closely integrated into global supply chains generating cost savings and improving revenue generation,” explained Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce, director of Engineering & Technology - Marine

TCOMS is a joint venture of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and the National University of Singapore. It is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. TCOMS is building a “Deepwater Ocean Basin” with wave and current generation systems to simulate ocean environments, including those in ultra-deep waters.

Set for completion in 2019, the ocean basin facility will support development of concepts like intelligent floating platforms and ships, autonomous systems, marine robotics, and subsea systems.