Tallinn University of Technology

The energy researchers of TalTech have a plan to make a digital twin of the robot ship NYMO, which they created and that received the Tallinn Enterprise Award.

The creators of the innovative watercraft, Heigo Mõlder, Tanel Jalakas, Indrek Roasto and Taavi Möller, at the beginning of October, received recognition with the Tallinn Enterprise Award, in the category of the best research work.

The member of the team of the self-steering watercraft NYMO, Heigo Mõlder, Doctorate in energy, says that the digital twin will assist in predicting to a certain extent the events taking place at sea. Mõlder added: "For example, if we want that the robot ship would travel from Tallinn to Helsinki, we will first put the digital twin on its way. It will take into consideration the wind speed, vessel capacity, mass, wave height and all of the traffic regulations applicable at sea. The digital twin will determine if the energy in the batteries of the ship is sufficient for it, to reach from Tallinn to Helsinki or not. Or from which side of the island is it more energy efficient to pass by, given the wind direction and the height of the wave. The twin also helps to select the route, taking into consideration the sea map. The digital twin can additionally in the future be used to optimise the mechanics, material use and energy consumption of the ship, as well as apply different machine learning algorithms.”

Robotship Nymo and its digital twin

Figuratively speaking, the digital twin can move in front of the physical robot ship, assisting in making different steering decisions. The catamaran shaped NYMO can today independently reach its destination, with the assistance of GPS and other sensory devices, recognises the obstacles at sea, incl. also other watercraft and knows how to sail past them. The ship is fully electric and will in the future be capable of charging itself.

The digital twin is also needed for that if something happens to the real physical ship, the digital twin will be available in the Internet cloud and based on it, it will be possible, if needed, to build a new optimised ship.

The prototype of the self-ship is capable of dragging a watercraft up to the weight of 500 kg, thus it can assist for example, some small craft in distress. The load capacity is up to 100 kg, which allows for adding different mechanisms to the ship, such as the waste collection module, sensors for detecting oil pollution in ports, a sonar for marine research etc. The entire robot ship has been deliberately constructed as modularly as possible, which means that the entire steering system can easily be transplanted onto any recreational craft.

The robot ship has been created in cooperation with HY Tech COMP OÜ and OÜ MEC Insenerilahendused.

NYMO is a part of the TalTech initiative of self-driven vehicles. The researchers and students of the technical university have, in addition to the robot ship, also for example created the Iseauto. The contribution of the students is the self-driving student formula, which is being developed together with the students of the TTK University of Applied Sciences.

The Tallinn University of Technology in 2019 chose NYMO as the best development project of the year. The NYMO idea started in 2016 at the TehnoHack organised by Skeemipesa.

Technical data of NYMO:

  • length 2.5 m
  • width 1.1 m
  • load capacity 100 kg
  • displacement 250 kg
  • draft 0.36 m
  • maximum speed 7 knots, 13 km/h
  • operating speed 3 knots, 5.6 km/h
  • autonomy at operating speed 24 h
  • range 70 km
  • towing capacity up to 500 k

Further information:
Dr. Heigo Mõlder, TalTech Department of Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics, heigo.molder@taltech.ee, tel. 526 4992