Rosetti Superyachts, a division of Italian shipbuilder Rosetti Marino Group, is working with the group’s R&D department to transfer remote control technology from the commercial shipping sector and adapt it for use in yachting.

The remote control system is based on an M2M connection (machine-to-machine) system installed onboard the Giano Tug (a Lloyds Register-certified tugboat) and is guaranteed by two internet-encrypted tunnels that ensure cyber security with a direct connection between the ship and remote bridge, without needing to go through third party servers.

It is thus possible to remotely manage Giano wherever it is, controlling the video system, the navigation, propulsion and engine room equipment.

The Giano Tug was presented during the 2018 “ITS Tugnology” convention in Marseille from June 25-29, when Captain Carsten Nygaard was able to control the tug from the stand using the remote console.

Using the same logic and remote console, which replicate the controls found on the bridge, a yacht could be manoeuvred without geographical limits by a senior officer located in a land-based office.

"The commands are relayed to dry land by the captain on board the vessel," Rosetti explains. "A route can then be entered and the yacht ‘delivered’ to its final destination and progress is monitored via a video system and night-vision cameras, assuring double control during navigation to avoid collisions."

Much of the technology for autonomous vessels is already in place, says Rosetti, but regulation needs to be properly updated. Autonomous ships are an area of special interest to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which sets the standards for national and international waters. Last year, the IMO launched a regulatory scoping exercise to analyse the impact of self-driving vessels.

The extent of regulatory change will depend on the level of autonomy permitted, and Lloyd’s Register, for example, has already published classification guidance for six autonomy levels.