09 Aug 2021

Our University’s First Steps toward Autonomous Ship Technology

Significant achievements have been made toward "autonomous ship" technology with the studies carried out at ITU Faculty of Naval Architecture and Marine Sciences. As part of the studies performed at the ITU Pond, previously obtained numerical simulation results were confirmed with the 4.5-meter-long test ship.

News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office

After reaching a certain level of autonomy in land and air vehicles, Turkey's, as well as the world’s, eyes have recently turned to autonomous sea vehicles. Scandinavian countries in particular have advanced studies on autonomous ships, which have important application areas in both civil and military contexts. In our university, pioneering studies in this field are carried out at ITU Faculty of Naval Architecture and Marine Sciences.

 Autonomous ship studies at ITU

The tests of the TUBITAK 1001 project titled "Numerical and experimental hydroacoustic analysis of a remote control guided ship model", whose principal investigator is ITU Faculty of Naval Architecture and Marine Sciences faculty member Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ömer Kemal Kınacı, were carried out at the ITU Pond. Asst. Prof. Dr. İsmail Bayezit, who has important studies on control system design, participates in the project as a researcher.

 First steps towards autonomous ship

The scaled model ship developed within the scope of the project is controlled by a remote control. The desired values for propeller speed and rudder angle can be transmitted to the ship remotely. By pre-calculating all the dynamics of the ship, the ship is capable of autonomous propulsion to the target location in the shortest time and through the shortest route during maneuver.

 Tests carried out at ITU Pond

The underwater noise and maneuverability of the 4.5 m long test ship were measured during the experiments that continued for three days at the ITU Pond. In our interview with Dr. Kınacı and Dr. Bayezit, they stated that the results obtained in the tests were highly compatible with the results of numerical simulations previously performed. With the outputs of this project, it will be possible to perform autonomous control and dynamic localization of marine vehicles, to develop SLAM algorithms, to determine the ship's mobility very close to reality during the design phase, to optimize the power distribution in the thruster propellers, and to detect and reduce underwater noise beforehand.

 Multidisciplinary project

The project brings together researchers from different disciplines. Naval Architecture Engineer Lect. Cihad Delen, Aeronautical Engineer Res. Asst. Rahman Bitirgen and Computer Engineer Afşin Baran Bayezit, all of whom are graduate students at ITU, participate in the project as scholarship holders. Apart from the main project team, Res. Asst. Deniz Öztürk, Res. Asst. Burak Güngüder, Eng. Alihan Ediş, ITU Mechanical Engineering 2nd year student Fuat Peri and Technician Seyfi Erim also take part in the tests at the ITU Pond.

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