Ship Energy Efficiency to Lower Carbon Footprint is NOW IMO Mandatory

DIGIPILOT Fuel Saving Breakthrough is Compliant for 70,000 EXISTING Ships 



AutoMATE Marine Systems LLC is now re-starting production of its ship’s fuel saving smart autopilot ‘add-on’ that meets the March 2012 mandatory International Maritime Association (IMO) energy efficiency mandate to enter into force on January 2013 for lowering carbon emissions on all 70,000 existing ships.

Unlike most alternative solutions in the IMO guidelines, DIGIPILOT is both practical and financially advantageous since it has a short installation payback and is guaranteed to save fuel compared with the ship’s conventional gyro pilot, or there is no monthly charge.

DIGIPILOT benefits include:

  • 1-3% fuel savings can increase profit 6-12%
  • Shorter voyage time due to increased speed
  • Lower CO2 Carbon emissions footprint

The rudder control technology, originally developed on MARAD subsidy was marketed as part of an AutoMATE™ Integrated Bridge System (IBS) costing $125k that successfully achieved 1-3% fuel saving on 17 Texaco/Esso/etc. VLCCs. DIGIPILOT alone, a $25k modular fuel saving version with shorter payback was used successfully on three American President Line’s fast container ships. In total, 550 DIGIPLOT fully automatic ARPAs (34 of which were Integrated Bridge Systems ¹  were sold for $41M totaling 60 million hours of at sea operation.

Over $6m of engineering was spent on the auto acquisition ARPA and fuel saving during five years of adaptive autopilot rudder control development in iotron, the founder’s predecessor’s company. The modern and classical control theory patented “space derived 3-axis inertial” system was based on a technology transfer from the founder’s US Air Force Space program’s first 3-axis satellite stabilization. ² The current production versions are simply being rehosted using today’s vastly improved gyros; computers and now both IBS products are commercially available at a fraction of their former selling price.

DIGIPILOT³ fuel saving steering system was perfected by iotron (4) (AutoMATE’s predecessor), on the American Steamship’s MV St. Clair, on US Department of Commerce Maritime Administration funding of the subsidisized ship and bridge equipment purchased including the DIGIPLOT “hands off” anti-collision radar plotter and DIGINAV (Integrated Bridge System-IBS).  The special IBS precision chart entrance navigation application was developed to aid entrance to the narrow Great Lake’s St. Mary’s river in a fog. The single point Loran C calibration concept pioneered the current eLoran concept used by the Coast Guard for improving Harbor Entrance navigation to “DGPS-like” accuracy and the FAA’s Next-Gen eLoran for aircraft positioning within 10 miles of airport runways.

Having proven the continuous availability and less than 100 m repeatability of Loran, it was used to geographically reference the 12 charted IMO traffic separation lanes on the DIGIPLOT PPI. By using the US Navy Transit satellite’s once per orbit 100 m accuracy fix every 100 minutes to reference charted traffic separation lanes thus achieving a simultaneous anti-collision and grounding prevention display as a single maneuvering aid on 34 supertankers. This unpublished exploitation of Loran C’s continuous repeatable accuracy provided 100-meter accuracy that equaled GPS accuracy for 20 years until Selective Availability (SA) was removed in 2000.

AutoMATE’s technology decision to resume production of DIGIPILOT’s proven fuel saving rudder control technology is in response to Branson and Boyd’s Carbon War Room’s call for entrepreneurs to innovate to alleviate shipping’s excessive CO2 footprint of the world total pollution by ships. By offering a well-proven design that is capable of rapid mass production and ease of installation for all 70,000 existing ships it is one of the few alternatives that can significantly reduce the ship’s CO2 footprint.

DIGIPILOT is the technology that is not only the lowest implementation risk, easy low cost to install, and short payback (5) but also then but allows offering ship owners an immediate well needed profit boost while in full compliance with last month’s International Maritime Organization mandate due January 2013.

The System Energy Management Plan (SEMP), due by January 2013, urges the ship-owner and operator to consider new technologies and practices when seeking to optimize the performance of a ship. Fuel saving rudder control should be the shipowner’s optimum choice for individual ships by simply adding DIGIPILOT to: Item 4.18 Optimum use of rudder and heading control systems-autopilots. This low cost add-on to ANY manufacturer’s conventional autopilot will use less fuel on every voyage by comparative measurements. Although each ship’s individual savings may be small, 2%, is not zero and is one of the few concepts that can be economically and practically applied to all existing vessels, not just new builds. Ship-owners can get more carbon footprint reduction/$ than any other practical method listed on the SEMP suggested solutions!

The timid SEMP statement: Retrofitting of a more efficient autopilot to existing ships COULD BE CONSIDERED, reflects that the shipping industry has long doubted that rudder control can really save fuel. This was finally debunked by the Canadian Space Agency funded prototype tests that scientifically proved by quantitative comparison of a computer rudder controller’s fuel use to that of a conventional autopilot by actually measuring fuel flow rates in the same sea state and engine RPM over a 100 nm track in 900 hours of testing. The captain’s video testimonial (6) indicates that, compared to the ship’s existing autopilot, rudder movements were reduced 70% showing fuel savings of 2 to 3% and a reduction in voyage time of 2%.

DIGIPILOT is the only commercially available fuel saving rudder controller that is the most practical “sure thing” for fuel saving that is not only economical and easy to outfit but also uniquely increases shipowners profit. AutoMATE was featured in Captain article: (7) Is Iron Mike The Solution To Ship Efficiency?  The product was recently introduced to ship-owners at the CMA Shipping 2012 Conference in Stamford, CT.

AutoMATE Marine Systems, LLC was incorporated to resume production of its industry leading DIGIPILOT, a universal “smart adaptive autopilot add-on” that can be integrated into any existing vessel’s conventional steering system that minimizes ship’s rudder movement providing significant reduction in fuel costs, voyage time and environmental impact. AutoMATE™ offers an optional modular Integrate Bridge Automation System component. DIGIPLOT the only “hands off “ fully automatic IMO Type Approved ARPA that experienced 60 million hours of fully automatic at sea operation (8) now being displayed on an e-chart as a single maneuvering aid.

AutoMATE™ is not an autopilot or ship steering and is also not a new ARPA/ECDIS competitor to well established companies. The company seeks to cooperate and team with any and all manufacturers whose installed equipment is operational already on existing ships for them to sell and install as an “add-on upgraded system” to modernize their older equipment past generation autopilot equipments including; 10 target manual or 20 target guard ring ARPAs (9) and/or ECDIS both of which may increase safety but neither reduce the carbon footprint, or result in increased ship-owner profit. The company business model is unique and similar to Intel’s chips, the processor brains in PC’s – AutoMATE Inside!

Questions and Answers: AutoMATE Marine responds to new Carbon Emissions Mandate

AutoMATE Marine Systems Press Release  New Tech Maritime Product Proves Profitable Fuel and Emissions Reduction- Revitalizing the Maritime Economy with Energy Efficient Technology (May 7.2012)

AutoMATE Marine Systems, LLC
Waltham, MA 02154 USA

Contact: AutoMATE Marine Systems
RE: Communications Director
Phone:  617-817-5977

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Energy Efficiency Lowering Carbon Footprint is NOW IMO Mandatory- DIGIPILOT Fuel Saving Breakthrough is Compliant for 70,000 EXISTING Ships by AutoMATE Marine Systems is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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Adaptive Autopilot Technology Retrofit | Shipping Fleet Modular Bridge Integrated Systems | Automated Maritime Navigation, Safety and Fuel Efficiency