Groke provides autonomous navigation solution for BARTech’s WindWings

UK design and engineering firm BAR Technologies (BARTech) has partnered with Finnish tech company Groke Technologies (Groke) for the design and development of autonomous navigation systems for BARTech’s WindWings technology.

BAR Technologie

The collaboration with Groke is said to provide an autonomous navigation solution to enhance passage at sea and port maneuverability for vessels equipped with BARTech’s WindWings.

The installation was pioneered on Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by US food corporation Cargill. The ship was the first vessel to be retrofitted with WindWings.

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Since fitment in August 2023, Pyxis Ocean has made several voyages with WindWings and Groke Pro in operation.

BAR Technologies

Aiming to support the maritime industry’s shift to new low-carbon propulsion systems, whereby traditional lines-of-sight may be obstructed, Groke Pro provides imagery of the bridge collated from multiple locations on the vessel, together with an analysis of objects in the vessel’s periphery.

According to Groke, by providing a situational awareness of the vessel surroundings, sensor fusion technology can combine inputs from different sensors on the vessel, including radar, AIS and Groke Pro’s day and night cameras.

Powered by machine vision and machine learning, tools like blending and real-time risk analysis provide the vessel crew with the most accurate information to support their decision-making, BARTech emphasized.

“As we chart the future of the maritime industry, our partnership with Groke marks a pivotal stride toward the confluence of low carbon propulsion and the latest automation technologies – both of which put global shipping on the path towards a cleaner, more efficient future,” John Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, BAR Technologies commented.

“As shipping continues to evolve, Groke is committed to being among the front-runners of the maritime future. With our technology and know-how, we are confident that we can support the shipping industry in embodying higher standards in safety and materializing a cleaner future,” Juha Rokka, Chief Executive Officer, Groke Technologies stated.

Alongside the evolution of low-carbon propulsion, the maritime industry also continues to grapple with skills shortages in the face of an increasing need to digitalize fleet management and operations.

While the industry explores the adoption of new technologies, the emphasis remains on building more autonomous systems without compromising traditional crew roles.

Technology solutions, such as Groke Pro help to optimize BART’s WindWings to enhance operational efficiency and the safety of seafarers, BARTech noted.

BARTech recently scored a contract to install WindWings on two tankers being built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) for UK shipowner Union Maritime. The ships will each boast a size of 114,000 dwt and will be classed by classification society Lloyds Register (LR). They are scheduled for delivery in late 2025.

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In February this year, BARTech unveiled a new wind-optimized hull design named Aquilo, showcasing a practical step toward sustainable ship design.

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The main dimensions and characteristics of the hull have been optimized to enhance efficiency during operations with significant wind assistance, resulting in improved fuel efficiency. Simulation results indicate a daily fuel consumption of less than 26.8 metric tons at 14.5 knots and approximately 12.6 metric tons per day at 12 knots, based on an average global route, BARTech concluded.