Rolls-Royce Marine (RRM) and Iridium Communications (IRDM) signed a Letter of Intent, in support of their autonomous vessel development program. Under this LoI, the parties will work together to explore incorporating Iridium's L-band satellite broadband service, Iridium CertusSM, into the RRM suite of Ship Intelligence solutions.
By doing so, RRM aims to have a reliable broadband capability that can serve as a standalone option or high throughput backup, while expanding the reach of autonomous vessels to all the world's waterways.
RRM's solutions provide remote access to onshore operators and control centers, delivering real-time connectivity and automation. By automating processes such as navigation, crew are able to focus on more valuable areas of vessel operations helping to streamline overall functionality, ushering in a new digital era of shipping.
A strategic part of the maritime industry's future, autonomous ships are being examined by the IMO, where they are defining the regulatory environment and degrees of autonomy for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships.
"Their new interconnected Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network is able to provide global coverage with low latencies for both coastal and ocean going vessels, while at the same time having the robustness of the L-band. And being an actor with truly global coverage, including polar regions, vessel owners will have the confidence that wherever they sail their ship, it will stay connected,"
...Kenneth Solberg, technical product manager, Ship Intelligence, Rolls-Royce Marine explained for Iridium's Certus.
Iridium operates the world's largest, and only pole-to-pole, mobile commercial satellite constellation. The network is comprised of 66 cross-linked LEO satellites that blanket the entire planet with reliable satellite connectivity.
"Enabling the digitalization of shipping is at the core of our strategy for our maritime business, and we are proud to begin exploring this opportunity with Rolls-Royce Marine,"
...said Wouter Deknopper, vice president and general manager, Maritime at Iridium.
Iridium NEXT is the Company's next-generation satellite constellation currently being launched by SpaceX. To date, there have been seven successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying 65 new satellites. One launch remains before completion of the company's historic constellation refresh. In total, 75 new satellites are being launched to LEO, of which 66 will be in the active constellation, with nine on-orbit spares.