The First ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme Challenge Won by BMT

BMT is set to launch a new solution that can enhance autonomous operations planning using ADMIRALTY data

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

Launched earlier this year in collaboration with RE_SET, 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.

As the challenge winner, BMT will collaborate with the UKHO, utilising its marine geospatial data and expertise, to develop an alpha product for the autonomous shipping sector. In addition, as part of this challenge, BMT has won a seat at the IoT Tribe Space Endeavour Accelerator to further develop technologies using satellite-derived data.

Sarah Kenny OBE, Chief Executive of BMT, commented: “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, commented: “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.”

Mark Casey, Head of Research, Design and Innovation at the UKHO, said: “We’re delighted to announce BMT as the winner of our Autonomous Navigation Challenge. This is a great achievement for BMT and an exciting milestone in the UKHO’s journey to support safe, secure and thriving oceans.

“The ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme was established to inspire innovative solutions to the threats faced by our oceans, as well as the opportunities. Our challenges aim to support the growth of the Blue Economy and unlock the power of marine geospatial data across a range of sectors. The team at BMT share the same goal and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with them.”

The UKHO plans to roll out more challenges to help tackle a number of vital issues, including renewable energy generation, blue carbon sequestration and sea-level rise modelling. The next challenge on Transforming Maritime Risk and Insurance is currently open for entries:


Image: Using their winning solution, BMT successfully simulated the navigation of an autonomous ship in the Plymouth Sound

Image by: UKHO

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