The innovative tugboat began its autonomous voyage at the end of September, equipped with the Sea Machines SM300 technology that includes computer vision, obstacle detection features, remote payload control, plus several specialized cameras and radars. U.S. Coast Guard-licensed officers, at the company’s control center in Boston, are in charge of commanding operations for Nellie Bly, as it makes its way through Europe.
But there’s another remarkable fact about this autonomous tugboat – it also aims to be sustainable, by using safer alternatives instead of conventional fuel. The company announced that it has been using renewable Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) biofuel, produced by Bunker One in Denmark, as the main fuel for its autonomous boat.
At the stops it made throughout Denmark, the boat was refueled with HVO biofuel, which is supposed to reduce toxic emissions by 90%. This sustainable alternative represents around 70% of the fuel used by Nellie Bly throughout its journey. At the end of the pioneering trip, the Sea Machines’ boat will have consumed around 4,000 liters of biofuel.
The entire record-breaking voyage, which combines long-range autonomous boating with sustainable fueling, has been streamed in real time, on the Machine Odyssey dashboard, available here.