Information published on 10 October 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 565.

Finland: Rauma fairway made more intelligent and safer

Meritaito Ltd has installed 33 smart beacons on the fairway maintained by the Finnish Transport Agency and the Port of Rauma. The new beacons increase the safety of the fairway and save money. Finland is an international pioneer in modernising marine safety equipment.

Rauma’s busy fairway is one of the world’s most modern sea routes. This is because in the autumn, 33 new beacons were installed in the fairway. From the beginning of October, pilots and the Maritime Transport Centre may adjust the light output of these new beacons. The light output can be easily adjusted even by smartphone.
“The adjustability increases safety, because the pilot can choose just the right light output for the entire fairway or just a single beacon. For example, in foggy weather, the beacon’s twilight switch would not know that light output is to be increased due to poor visibility,” explains Meritaito’s expert Tero Tuominen.
Meritaito is the contractor of Rauma’s smart fairway project and the developer and owner of the SeaDatics system. SeaDatics is a system for monitoring the status of marine safety equipment and if necessary, controlling the light output of beacons. All changes in light output will remain in the log so it is possible to retrospectively determine who set the lights and when, for how long and to what intensity.
According to works supervisor, Kalle Rantala, the installation work related to safety equipment went according to plan and within the agreed timetable.

Smart brings saving
Improving the safety of Rauma’s fairway was particularly important as the safe clearance depth of the fairway will increase from 10 meters to 12 meters in the new year. This means that ships calling at the port may be considerably larger than those visiting the port at present.

Intelligent beacons also save money for the organisation in charge if their maintenance, as the lights on the devices can be dimmed when there is no traffic on the fairway. This will improve the battery life of the beacons.
“It could be compared with setting the brightness of a flashlight; if the brightness is set at full, the battery will be discharge quickly. At sea, replacing batteries is slightly more difficult, so longer service life will significantly reduce maintenance costs,” explains Project Manager Joonatan Ahlroos from the Finnish Transport Agency.

Will there soon be several smart fairways in Finland?

Rauma’s smart fairway is part of the Finnish Transport Agency’s digitalisation project. One of the aims of the project is to make navigation safer and more efficient. Adding intelligence to the fairway is one way to achieve these goals.
“We have experimented with smart beacons already on the Färjsund ferry, and received very positive feedback from the pilots. This encouraged us to turn the Rauma fairway into a smart fairway. If the experiences are positive in Rauma, it is possible that smart fairways will also appear in the next few years on other seafronts maintained by the Finnish Transport Agency,” adds Ahlroos.

(Source: FTA)