Towards Integrated Digital-Twins: An Application Framework for Autonomous Maritime Surface Vessel Development

Minahil Raza*, Hanna Prokopova, Samir Huseynzade, Sepinoud Azimi, Sebastien Lafond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The use of digital twins for the development of Autonomous Maritime Surface Vessels (AMSVs) has enormous potential to resolve the increasing need for water-based navigation and safety at the sea. Aiming at the problem of lack of broad and integrated digital twin implementations with live data along with the absence of a digital twin-driven framework for AMSV design and development, an application framework for the development of a fully autonomous vessel using an integrated digital twin in a 3D simulation environment has been presented. Our framework has 4 layers which ensure that simulation and real-world vessel and the environment are as close as possible. Åboat, an in-house, experimental research platform for maritime automation and autonomous surface vessel applications, equipped with two trolling electric motors, cameras, LiDARs, IMU and GPS has been used as the case study to provide a proof of concept. Åboat, its sensors, and the environment have been replicated in a commercial, 3D simulation environment, AILiveSim. Using the proposed application framework, we develop obstacle detection and path planning systems based on machine learning which leverage live data from a 3D simulation environment to mirror the complex dynamics of the real world. Exploiting the proposed application framework, the rewards across training episodes of a Deep Reinforcement Learning model are evaluated for live simulated data in AILiveSim.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1469
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • maritime autonomy
  • autonomous ship
  • safety
  • digital twin
  • deep reinforcement learning
  • collision avoidance
  • situational awareness


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