How Anschütz autopilots save fuel and emissions

Anschütz's NautoPilot 5000 NX offers a unique combination of fuel-saving features.

For decades, Anschütz autopilots have been known for their exceptional steering performance. Sophisticated algorithms ensure highly accurate steering even at low speeds, guiding vessels safely through narrow sea areas and between islands and archipelagos.

Because of the current energy transition and the endeavour to reduce emissions in shipping, functions that reduce fuel consumption are becoming increasingly important. Lower fuel consumption results in lower emissions and can ultimately improve the ship's carbon intensity indicator (CII) rating. It is no coincidence that the IMO also refers to autopilots as a way of increasing the efficiency of ships and reducing emissions.

Two things are necessary to steer a ship as efficiently as possible using the autopilot:

  • Automation by means of intelligent functions that steer the ship more efficiently
  • The simplest possible monitoring and optimisation of efficient steering performance

Intuitive steering performance assessment and parameter settings

Speed, rudder movements, weather conditions and the characteristics of the ship all affect the steering performance. The reciprocal effect of these factors on the ship's system is complex and the actual efficiency of the steering is not always easy to assess from the bridge.

Comparing heading, course and rudder angles is a simple approach to assess and optimise the ship's steering performance. Until now, the navigator has had to check several displays for that. However, it is even simpler to view this information directly on the autopilot.

NautoPilot 5000 NX features a large graphic touch display which also shows a digital heading and rudder plot. This unique graphic provides an immediate visualisation of the steering behaviour, allowing navigators to intuitively assess efficiency and accuracy. Further to this, navigators can optimise the parameter settings on the autopilot at the touch of a finger and can directly see whether the ship's steering performance is optimised or needs further adjustment. Smart automation functions additionally support and maximise the effect of optimally set parameters.

Despite sometimes being underestimated, this graphical representation of the steering performance and the simple parameter settings are the most important tools, because beyond any automation, this is where it becomes clear how efficiently the ship is really steering.

Adaptive ECO mode to automate the steering performance

Almost two decades ago, Anschütz was the first manufacturer to introduce an autopilot with an adaptive ECO mode.

When the ECO mode is activated, the autopilot automatically adapts to changes in sea conditions and load. Precisely, the autopilot permanently monitors the actual yawing movements of the vessel and optimises its steering behaviour to keep the vessel on the set course more efficiently. Symmetrical movements as well as movements due to the inertial behaviour of the ship are filtered out and no longer corrected by the autopilot.

The result is fewer rudder movements which can be clearly seen in the extracts from the digital heading and rudder plot. It is well known that reduced rudder movement also reduces fuel consumption. Based on these well-documented experiences, Anschütz has continuously developed and optimised both its autopilot controller and the functional basis.

In addition to the Eco mode, the NautoPilot 5000 NX also features a Course Control mode which automatically guides a ship along the shortest route and utilises smaller rudder angles. As a result, the ship has less resistance and consumes less fuel.

Significant fuel savings with the brand-new Toe Angle feature

The new Toe Angle feature undeniably offers significant improvements for dual rudder vessels. Toe Angle enables the autopilot to control the individual setting angles of the rudders, which can be used to reduce the resistance caused by the wake fields of both rudders and, hence, significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Settings and effects on fuel consumption are dynamically dependent on the hull shape, speed and draught of the ship. Adjusting the toe angle to the operational profile of the vessel reduces the fuel consumption significantly compared to parallel rudder operation.

Anschütz has gained experience of the correct setting angles through a computational fluid dynamics analysis, tank tests and on-board investigations. This knowledge benefits the bridge team as well as the shore team in the optimisation of the autopilot for upcoming journeys.

NautoPilot 5000 NX – State-of-the-art autopilot for newbuild and refit

The NautoPilot 5000 NX provides shipowners with a comprehensive toolset of fuel-saving functions while they can always rely on high-precision control when they need it.

By utilising modern, future-proof hardware with standard interfaces, the NautoPilot 5000 NX can be easily integrated into new builds and retrofitted to existing vessels. It is type-approved as a heading control system, including for high-speed crafts, and can also be part of a track control system. The autopilot complies with the IACS requirements for cyber security, bridge alert management, and Ethernet communication according to IEC 61162-450.

Over the last ten years, Anschütz has supplied over 2,500 ships with autopilots from the NautoPilot 5000 NX family.
To give customers the opportunity to realise the full fuel saving potential of the current NautoPilot 5000 NX, we are offering an unbeatable price on autopilot software upgrades for a limited time from 1 July. Click here to find out more