GMV leads the AVIS project to optimize navigation for autonomous vessels

The European Commission’s AVIS project, which is being led by the multinational technology company GMV, officially got underway on 30 January. The goal is to improve navigation for autonomous vessels along Europe’s inland waterways by using European Union space systems such as the European Global Navigation Satellite System (E-GNSS) and Copernicus. In addition to improving navigation in inland waterways, the project is expected to help create new applications for autonomous vessels, as well as contribute to the European Union’s goal of transforming transportation systems to make them more sustainable and less polluting.

Inland waterway transportation in Europe is undergoing several changes as a result of new and emerging technologies, which are making these processes increasingly safe, digitalized, and sustainable. While there is currently no autonomous vessel traffic in inland waterways, the industry is already getting ready to incorporate it in the near future, and as such is exploring the challenges that could arise in various scenarios. In this regard, the solution proposed in AVIS will increase the accuracy and reliability of forecasts and enhance positioning for vessels, in order to optimize their routes and make them safer.

Further goals of the AVIS project include defining requirements for autonomous vessels and for operating such vessels in Europe inland waterways; developing a prototype for onboard equipment; providing proof of concept for the AVIS solution through several pilot tests on European inland waterways to prove its feasibility and added value; creating new regulations establishing the minimum requirements to guarantee safe navigation as a contribution to the European Committee for Drawing Up Standards in the Field of Inland Navigation (CESNI), an EU body that includes other relevant standardization institutions; and finally, participating in outreach work to share the results of the project. The project will take place over the course of 37 months.

The consortium in charge of carrying out the project is led by multinational technology company GMV, with extensive experience in E-GNSS and Copernicus and a proven track record in developing secure solutions. In addition to managing the consortium, GMV will lead most of the work in standardization and the definition of technical solutions. The consortium includes a wide range of organizations, including Germany’s Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV), the Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress-Signalling and Infocommunications (RSOE), HA Consulting Ltd. (HAC), Tresco, Bergmann Marine (BM), Ernst & Young (EY), and GMV’s subsidiary in Romania.

“The work that will be carried out as part of the AVIS project is incredibly ambitious in terms of technical complexity, scope, timeframe, and effort,” says Marta Cueto, project manager at GMV. “The solution proposed in AVIS is based on highly innovative concepts, both in terms of its use of EU systems, which seeks to take advantage of the synergies between E-GNSS and Copernicus, and in terms of inland waterway operations and safe navigation, crucial for GMV’s future work in this industry.”

Reduction of CO2 emissions

The AVIS project is also expected to contribute to the goals of the European Union’s NAIADES project, which seeks to provide multidimensional intelligence for the water sector through artificial intelligence technologies in order to achieve high-quality water management services. The goal of the EU’s space programs is to maximize the socioeconomic benefits of its space systems for its citizens. In doing so, the EU seeks to transform society, transportation, and industry with the goal of making progress in its medium- and long-term goal of zero CO2 emissions, given that the transportation sector is one of the main contributors to these emissions.

This is why the EU is leading a profound transformation of its transportation systems, developing a more sustainable approach that will promote the use of less polluting means of transportation. The goal of the NAIADES III action plan, covering the period from 2021 to 2027, is to improve the competitiveness of shipping on Europe’s rivers and canals so that these routes can become an active part of a broader multimodal chain incorporating the latest digital developments.

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