Automated navigation

Automated navigation

Background to the automated navigation work at the CCNR

Following the Mannheim declaration in 2018, the competent ministers of the CCNR Member States called on the CCNR to press ahead with development of digitalisation, automation and other modern technologies, thereby contributing to the competitiveness, safety and sustainability of inland navigation.

To ensure its implementation, the CCNR decided to entrust the Small Navigation Committee (RN) with the steering and coordination of work relating to automated navigation. The RN Committee deals with all questions relating to automation by involving experts in different fields (depending on the type of subject dealt with: technical, nautical, personnel, legal, etc.). The Small Navigation Committee examines applications for the authorisation of pilot projects.

  • Mandate of the Small Navigation Committee to steer and coordinate work on automated navigation 111 KB 91 KB 92 KB

Committee Chairman: Mr. Sim TURF, Deputy Commissioner for Belgian
Secretariat: Mrs. HIRTZ

Schedule of meetings

Work programme 122 KB 103 KB 141 KB


The CCNR’s vision

Automation implies a fundamental change for inland navigation and will affect almost all aspects of inland navigation. The CCNR therefore takes a global approach, taking account of legal, ethical and social aspects.

With this in mind, the CCNR has drawn up a detailed Vision as an instrument for steering and coordinating the work to be carried out in the period 2022 to 2028 and beyond within the various committees.

The objective is to allow a proper implementation of automation in light of safety and sustainability

  • Summary of the CCNR’s vision to support the harmonised development of automated navigation (November 2021) 123 KB 124 KB 120 KB 120 KB
  • Detailed vision for supporting the harmonised development of automated navigation at the CCNR (March 2022) 1970 KB 1991 KB 1946 KB

CCNR has begun an analysis of its regulatory framework as well as discussing questions of principles for amendments that are necessary.


International definition of levels of automation

At its plenary session in December 2018, the CCNR adopted the first international definition of inland navigation automation levels (Resolution 2018-II-16 133 KB 181 KB 174 KB ). This definition allowed a clear understanding of all levels of automated navigation, subsequently enabling an assessment of the need to take regulatory measures, based on a common understanding. After two years, the CCNR found that the international definition of levels of automation in inland navigation is widely used by pilot projects in inland navigation, national authorities and international institutions such as the UNECE or the Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC). In this context, during its plenary session in autumn 2021, the CCNR decided to extend the period of validity of the definition of automation levels in inland navigation until 31 December 2022 (Resolution 2020-II-20 117 KB 91 KB 117 KB ).

From the experience gained with various research and development projects and pilot projects already carried out, it was also recognised that there is a need to review the current definition of levels of automation in inland navigation, as some pilot projects have difficulties in giving a single level of automation for a project. Often, it is rather a combination of levels that is more appropriate.

Compared to the international definition of levels of automation in inland navigation published in 2018, the changes made are rather minor adjustments. The number of levels of automation remains unchanged. Some terms used are clarified. The 2022 edition also includes an explanatory note to provide additional information.

In addition, the role of the boatmaster is better taken into account; it is now also listed in the context of monitoring and responding to the navigational environment in automation level 3. Finally, the subject of remote control has been removed from the definition of levels of automation. Remote control is not in itself automation, but there is an important link to the levels of automation. For example, it may not be possible to use remote control safely on every type of craft if there are insufficient fallback performance systems, should the connection between the craft and the landside fail. Further clarification on remote control and its relation to automation is provided in the explanatory note. Also, the examples originally added to the definition are now included in the explanatory note.

  • International definition of levels of automation in inland navigation (Edition 2022) 173 KB 172 KB 167 KB 165 KB
  • Explanatory note related to the international definition of levels of automation in inland navigation (Edition 2022) 275 KB 247 KB 246 KB 221 KB

Useful information for implementing a pilot project on the Rhine

  • Authorisation procedure for a pilot project for automated navigation on the Rhine (February 2024) 358 KB 308 KB 299 KB
  • List of competent authorities for an authorisation request of a pilot project in automated navigation requiring a derogation from the CCNR regulations (May 2022) 150 KB 111 KB 115 KB
  • Application for authorisation for a pilot project to derogate from one or more CCNR regulations - Minimum content of the derogation application dossier (November 2022) 205 KB 161 KB 163 KB


The Small Navigation Committee has approved a terminology in four languages for some terms relating to automated navigation and remotely operated craft.
This terminology is to be made available hereafter to interested parties in order to facilitate mutual understanding.

  • Terminology relating to automated navigation and remotely operated craft (November 2023) 115 KB 87 KB 88 KB 103 KB

Inventory of pilot projects in inland navigation

Many national and international research and pilot projects are pursuing innovation by developing higher level automation applications for inland navigation. Gaining experience with such applications is critical for the evaluation of technical solutions and expected advantages.

The Select Committee on Navigation monitors all automated navigation projects and updates an inventory of these projects.

The inventory is available on: