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Thursday, November 19, 2020 

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced that international design, engineering, science and risk management consultancy BMT is the winner of the first Admiralty Marine Innovation Programme challenge.

The programme aims to help start-ups and innovators develop new solutions that support safe, secure and thriving oceans. The programme’s first innovation challenge focused on ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation’ and tasked participants with identifying how marine geospatial data can support the safe navigation of commercial autonomous ships. For this challenge BMT created a new navigation system, which combines their Rembrandt and Tuflow simulation technologies to enhance autonomous operations planning and real-time navigation safety in busy waterways and ports.

The system successfully simulated the navigation of a 140m part-autonomous ferry in Plymouth port using multiple Admiralty data sets, including bathymetry, tidal streams and heights, seabed composition and ship routing. This new application by BMT can also be linked to other external and environmental data sources, including satellite and AIS receivers, to ensure safety and efficiency. BMT will use UKHO's marine geospatial data and expertise to develop an alpha product for the autonomous shipping sector.

Sarah Kenny OBE, CEO BMT, said: “We strongly believe in the development and transition to a fully autonomous world and we are particularly proud to put our experience and knowledge towards a challenging navigation project that could become a catalytic factor for industrial innovation in this area and beyond. Thanks to these initiatives, introduced for the very first time this year by the UKHO, BMT will strengthen its technological leadership in a very competitive sector.”

Dr Phil Thompson, Director of Simulation and Training Products at BMT, said: “Receiving this international award from the highly-esteemed UKHO is indeed an honour. BMT continues to further develop its technological expertise in the field of autonomous vessels navigation with the goal to create a centre of excellence in the UK for one of the strongest growing maritime sectors."

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