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.
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
CCNR has begun an analysis of its regulatory framework as well as discussing questions of principles for amendments that are necessary.
At its plenary session in December 2018, the CCNR adopted the first international definition of inland navigation automation levels (Resolution 2018-II-16 ). 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 ).
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.
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.
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: automation.ccr-zkr.org.