Together with the naval architects at Robert Allan Ltd., Abu Dhabi Ports plans to develop the world’s first unmanned autonomous commercial tugboats. The new technology is to help increase efficiency and enhance operational safety.

The design also offers greater capability, as shifting the human element to shore will allow such vessels to operate in far more adverse weather conditions.

Abu Dhabi Ports will work closely with Canada-based Robert Allan Ltd. on the research and development of remotely-controlled marine tugs that will be fully unmanned, and be able to operate within a wide spectrum of autonomy.

‘It’s a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports to lead the charge towards digitalising the region’s maritime operations, and we are committed to providing a pioneering model for the sector,’ says Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports. ‘Adopting digital solutions and keeping up with the changing demands of global trade have proven to be key drivers for economic growth and are integral towards achieving our goal of being a smart port.’

Once developed, the tugs will join Safeen, Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime service arm.