Abu Dhabi Ports to develop world’s first unmanned autonomous commercial tugboats

Abu Dhabi Ports announced the collaboration with a global commercial vessel designer and one of the world leaders in tug building industry, Robert Allan Ltd., to develop the world’s first fully unmanned autonomous commercial marine tugs. Once developed, the tugs will join SAFEEN, Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime service arm, which maintains an expanding fleet of world-class service vessels. One of the primary advantages of the innovative design includes greater capability, as shifting the human element from on-board to onshore, will allow such vessels to operate in far more adverse weather conditions.

Abu Dhabi Ports will work closely with one of Canada’s oldest privately-owned Naval Architectural and Marine Engineering firms on the research and development of remotely controlled marine tugs that will be fully unmanned and be able to operate within a wide spectrum of autonomy.

The two entities have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect at the International Maritime Organization gathering in London.

His Excellency Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports said: “In line with our leadership’s guidance, this agreement marks a milestone in our digital transformation, and confirms our commitment to ensure the Emirate of Abu Dhabi strengthens its reputation as a leading centre for digital innovation regionally and globally. It’s a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports to lead the charge towards digitalising the region’s maritime operations, and we are committed to providing a pioneering model for the sector. Adopting digital solutions and keeping up with the changing demands of global trade have proven to be key drivers for economic growth and are integral towards achieving our goal of being a smart port. Developing solutions and building strategic partnerships with industry experts will help achieve a paradigm shift in maritime operations worldwide, and globally in line with the directives of the leadership.”