World’s first unmanned autonomous commercial tugboats

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Abu Dhabi Ports and commercial vessel designer Robert Allan are to collaborate on a project to develop the world’s first fully unmanned commercial tugboats.

Working with one of Canada’s oldest privately owned marine engineering firms, Abu Dhabi Ports will research and develop remotely controlled marine tugs. A primary advantage of an autonomous tug design is that it will allow the human element to move from on-board to onshore, allowing the new vessels to operate in adverse and dangerous weather conditions, meaning a safer and more efficient fleet.

Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, Falah Mohammad Al Ababi, said, “It’s a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports to lead the charge toward digitizing the region’s maritime operations, and we are committed to providing a pioneering model for the sector. Adopting digital solutions and keeping up with the changing demands of global trade have proven to be key drivers for economic growth and are integral toward achieving our goal of being a smart port.”

Commenting on the partnership, Mike Fitzpatrick, CEO of Robert Allan, said, “We are excited to cooperate with Abu Dhabi Ports in this initiative, which provides us with an optimal opportunity to develop the world’s first fleet of remotely operated tugboats for the commercial sector.”

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