greenCoPilot: improve traffic planning near the coast

Shipping accidents in coastal waters and sea regions near the coast always have a high potential for damage to the environment and people. Increasingly improved communication and automation contribute to the generation of synchronised traffic situation reports on board the involved ships and in the vessel traffic control centres. Centralised control offers the possibility of increasing the safety of shipping traffic and reducing waiting times when calling at ports. Authorised modifications of voyage planning could extend the possibilities of the vessel traffic control centres to centrally control traffic flow.

Against this background, the project “Cooperative Pilotage für Schiffe und Leitsysteme” (greenCoPilot) was launched on 1 February 2019 by the Department of Maritime and Logistics Studies at the Jade University of Applied Sciences in Elsfleth as part of the Competence Centre Green Shipping Lower Saxony with funding of around 500,000 euros from the Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science (MWK).

Over the course of three years, the project will develop a route planning system for ships that will allow routes to be planned on-board for automated pier-to-pier navigation. The vessel's route will be communicated to the vessel traffic control centres by radio. By creating a standard data set for manoeuvring characteristics of ships, it should also be possible to modify the plans off-board with nautical competence. Such route modifications are sent back to the ship as suggestions. On the bridge, pilot and captain can decide whether to accept the changes. Route planning can be switched directly to autopilot and the situation picture is synchronised once again. The core idea of the greenCoPilot project is to retain the responsibility of the nautical personnel. The project is being implemented in cooperation with the HAMMONIA Reederei, and SevenC’s from Hamburg as well as local partners Böning Automationstechnologie, the OFFIS Institute and the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg.

The Competence Centre GreenShipping Lower Saxony has already been operating successfully at the two locations Elsfleth and Leer since 2015. The office in Elsfleth is located at the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany.


Henning Edlerherr, Projektmanager
Maritime Cluster Northern Germany
Branch Office Lower Saxony

+49 4404 98786-14