A total of 33 smart beacons have been installed along the Finnish port's fairway by the Helsinki-based Meritaito.
Pilots and the Maritime Transport Centre can now adjust the light output of the new beacons, even with the use of a smartphone. The devices are managed through SeaDatics, a system for monitoring the status of marine safety equipment. All changes in light output will remain in the log so it is possible to retrospectively determine who, when, for how long, and to what intensity set the lights.
"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," Tero Tuominen, IT Manager, Meritaito, commented.
In addition, since the lights can be dimmed, the battery life of the beacons will be prolonged, saving money.
"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," Joonatan Ahlroos, Project Manager, Finnish Transport Agency, said.
Rauma's smart fairway is part of the Finnish Transport Agency's digitalisation project, aimed at, among many, making navigation safer and more efficient. Furthermore, improving the fairway's safety was necessary as its safe clearance depth will be increased from 10 to 12 m next year in order for Rauma to serve larger vessels.
Ahlroos added in this regard, "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."