ABB launches next-generation DP system

Adam Foster
Adam Foster

05 September 2018


The ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control dynamic positioning (DP) system, unveiled at the maritime trade fair SMM, simplifies ship maneuvering with an intuitive touchscreen-based user interface and enables safer, more efficient ship operations.

With its user-centric design, ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control reduces the workload on automating navigational tasks and allows bridge officers to focus holistically on the overall control and positioning of the ship. The system integrates seamlessly with existing onboard equipment and ensures ease of installation and maintenance, adding significant “bridge-to-propeller” value for the shipowners.

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One of the key benefits of the new system is that it allows the operator to switch to joystick control for maneuvering the vessel at any speed and all the way to docking. ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control employs algorithms that calculate the optimal way of executing a command for controlling the vessel in any operational situation. The overall safety of the operation is increased as the crew is able to maintain full situational awareness, rather than having to focus on changing control modes.

The system has obtained Lloyd’s Register’s (LR) Approval in Principle (AiP) certificate, announced at SMM. LR is a leading international provider of classification, compliance and consultancy services to the marine industry.

“Lloyd’s Register is focused on supporting the introduction of new solutions to the shipping industry that enhance safer, more efficient and sustainable ship operations,” says David Barrow, Commercial Director, Marine & Offshore, Lloyd’s Register. “As digital technologies progress, increased collaboration between original equipment manufacturers, classification societies and ship owners will become key. This project highlights the collaborative work ethic between LR and ABB to achieve this milestone.”

“ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control is an example of pioneering technology that is already available today and will act as a stepping stone into the future of autonomous shipping,” says Mikko Lepistö, Senior Vice President Digital Solutions at ABB Marine & Ports. “To enable autonomous shipping, we need a DP system that replaces traditional solutions designed for disconnected operations. Embracing new technologies for the human-machine interface and offering tangible safety and efficiency benefits, ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control does exactly that.”

Together with the ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Vision, launched in 2017 to offer multiple real-time visualizations of a vessel’s surroundings, the new DP system will create a full 3D situational awareness and an intuitive operating environment with the dedicated purpose of operating the ship in a safe and efficient manner.

“Our ‘Electric. Digital. Connected.’ vision is based on the principles of simplicity, efficiency and safety. ABB Ability™ Marine Pilot Control works to leverage our experience with all aspects of the ship from bridge to propeller and enables operators to navigate the vessels of the future regardless of propulsion system or power generation,” says Juha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB Marine & Ports. “By designing solutions from the ground up to meet today’s requirements, we position our technology in a way that is able to incorporate future technologies in a secure, yet easy way.”

The new DP system can be connected to the ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Center infrastructure, which monitors the performance of ABB technology on board and remotely connects operators with ABB experts.

ABB Ability™ is the company’s unified, cross-industry offering extending from device to edge to cloud, integrating data to and from products, systems, solutions and services to deliver actionable information. The ABB Ability™ platform uses Microsoft Azure as the cloud for its integrated connectivity, so users can access enterprise-grade infrastructure that benefits from Microsoft’s significant investment.