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Safran ensures the reliability of geolocation systems for autonomous ships

Innovation

Available to purchase on the Internet for a small amount of money, jamming devices, which are real electronic warfare capabilities, are being used more and more, and have a major impact on satellite positioning system signals. These signals are essential for navigation of autonomous ships that are operated several hundred miles away. Safran Trusted 4D, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, offers solutions that meet all the integrity, reliability and accuracy requirements of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) tools for offshore platforms.

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ROSS, an international programme to address safety issues on remotely operated vessels

Led by SeaOwl Group in 2019, The ROSS project, or Remotely Operated Service at Sea, aims to provide an innovative solution for the teleoperation of surface ships from land-based control centres.

More exactly, the ROSS project seeks to develop systems that cut down on the maintenance and costs associated with multiple back-and-forth trips on land.

This solution responds to the need of oil and gas companies to have reliable and well-proven autonomous systems integrated into their offshore platforms.

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With SecureSync®, Safran provides a cybersecurity package for navigation

To meet the cybersecurity requirements of the ROSS programme, Safran Trusted 4D offers its high precision time synchronization solution, SecureSync®, combined with the IDM (Interference Detection & Mitigation) algorithm for the detection and mitigation of jamming and spoofing threats. Integrated into the PNT systems of a stand-alone platform, IDM provides accurate and reliable data to the control centre in order to ensure optimal ship navigation.

The IDM suite includes detection and reduction of GNSS threats (jamming and spoofing of satellite signals) as well as the ability to include both encrypted and alternative signals for use in 'GNSS-denied' environments. These are white areas where the GNSS signal is not detected correctly.

First demonstration successfully carried out on a ship based in Toulon, remotely operated from the Paris region

The first demo took place on the VN Rebel, an 80-metre vessel. The ship was operated using satellite remote control. The test was carried out by a captain from the SeaOwl company at the Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau, located around 800 kilometres from the Toulon naval base.

The test showed the effectiveness of remote navigation functions such as piloting, monitoring and anti-collision manoeuvres. Several scenarios of operational tests were made: a meteorological incident leading to the loss of the connectivity and a simulation of jamming of the GNSS signal using the SecureSync® solution of Safran Trusted 4D.

Thanks to this successful experiment, SeaOwl has received the first remote navigation licence in France, granted by the French Minister of Sea.