CoVadem – Shipping made smarter

The CoVadem project (Cooperatieve vaardieptemetingen) aims to share real-time data on navigable depth measurements, with the help of which vessel operators are able to navigate more efficiently and make maximum use of the waterways. This is done by providing inland waterway vessels with a basic on-board device (the so-called CoVadem box) reading the data from existing sensors, such as the echo-sounder, loading gauge, GPS and optionally, the fuel gauges. These data is sent to the could hosted services, where the data are being filtered, analysed (i.e. by developing smart algorithms) and enriched with relevant additional information sources (e.g. hydrodynamic and hydrological prediction models). By doing this, CoVadem generates almost real time water depths information and forecasts for every route covered by the vessel network. This information is exclusively made available to the CoVadem members, e.g. as to serve the generation of electronic depth charts in their navigation system.

At present, about 50 vessels have joined CoVadem, collaboratively harvesting the data needed for the generation of the information. The CoVadem servers are, however, designed for up-scaling to 250 vessels, anticipating further growth. With this growing number of vessels, the major corridors of the international fairway network would probably be covered.

The CoVadem service results in various benefits for the participants:

  • Optimising cargo volumes thanks to up-to-date depth data and forecasts; reliable information on available water depths is crucial to optimise the amount of cargo an inland vessel can take on a particular trip. CoVadem continuously provides actual water depth information, such that vessel operators can optimise the cargo volume.
  • Reduced fuel consumption through more efficient operations and optimised cargo volumes. By optimising the transport efficiency, fuel savings of over 10% are possible (based on expert experience in the recent past).
  • More reliable times of arrival (ETA). Due to more accurate forecasting of water depth, the planning of voyage in inland waterway transport becomes more reliable, as vessel operators are enabled to better anticipate fairways conditions and the interaction of their vessels therewith along the planned voyage. That results in more reliable estimated of the expected times of arrival.
  • More efficient maintenance of inland waterways. The data produced by CoVadem can be used to maintain the inland waterways in a more efficient and pro-active way.
  • Contribute to the introduction of smart vessel concepts, including autonomous shipping. The continuous and real-time data on the navigational possibilities of inland waterways are an important input for innovative vessel concepts, like autonomous shipping or vessel trains (see also the project NOVIMAR).

More information on this project can be found here.


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