Researchlab autonomous shipping

The Researchlab Autonomous Shipping makes the connection between government, science and industry. The RAS will work on concrete themes such as the autonomous mooring and platooning.

The Researchlab Autonomous Shipping (RAS) makes the connection between (a joint research agenda of) government, science and industry and gives space to applied scientific research in combination with the market.

The RAS will work on concrete themes such as the autonomous passage of bridges and locks, autonomous mooring and sailing away, sailing with several (autonomous and non-autonomous) ships, platooning and the influence on CO2-reduction.





What we do

The following points of attention for research questions have been formulated by the government, the scientific community and the business community:

  • Autonomous ships as part of the regular public sailing system, for example interaction with locks.
  • Autonomous ships as part of the distribution of goods, such as autonomous mooring and loading and unloading.
  • Autonomous ships as part of the entire transport network, for example autonomous bundling and arranging over various modality systems.
  • Interaction between autonomous ships and non-autonomous ships, e.g. overtaking while sailing.
  • Functioning of autonomous vessels under different conditions, for example different wind speeds.
  • User experience of autonomous ships, e.g. seasickness research.

Why we do it

In order to accelerate the applications of Smart Shipping in the Netherlands, the entire innovation and learning chain must be well organised, from science to the market. By setting up a joint research agenda and promoting and facilitating the exchange of knowledge, we expect that new technologies can be applied more quickly and more jointly. This also applies to the associated social opportunities (sustainable and efficient water transport, safety, digitisation, economic growth, accessibility and employment).


As a result of this approach, the Researchlab Autonomous Shipping was officially opened on 18 March 2019. At The Green Village in Delft, we organised the first research lab with a “wet exemption”. In addition to the water around the lab, it is now also possible to test at ‘De Schie’. The aim of this physical test site is to provide an open and accessible platform for carrying out (practical) research into self-propelled ships. In addition to the water that has been released, various test locations are available elsewhere on the campus and we are designing Fieldlabs. This makes it possible to carry out a wide range of studies, from a closed laboratory situation to complete interaction on the water.



MRDH, Provincie Zuid-Holland


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