Autonomous navigation may seem easy if you imagine a ship in the middle of the ocean, where it almost always has hundreds of metres or even many miles of space to turn in any direction. Things aren’t so simple for inland navigation: traffic is relatively heavy, and space is far more limited. A ship 135 metres long that needs to make a manoeuvre has little margin for deviating from the ideal route.

To automate operations like these, you need highly sophisticated software on the one hand, and a good track available on the other, in order to be able to adjust the steering constantly, as necessary. Tresco TrackPilot offers the best of both worlds.

Truck transport container on road to port cargo

Tresco TrackPilot: the pilot and the tracks

Tresco TrackPilot consists of two components:

  • The steering module or automatic pilot;
  • The SmartTracks: the beacons that plot the ideal course.

By allowing the automatic pilot to navigate to these tracks, your ship follows the ideal shipping route of its own accord. This sounds simpler than it is: to achieve it you need both incredibly intelligent steering software and a large number of reference points that have been programmed in, based on Tresco’s many years of experience and knowledge of inland navigation.


TrackPilot steering module: calculating ahead and smart correction

 The TrackPilot steering module is one of the most advanced solutions for autonomous navigation. It makes use of an ingenious combination:

  • The software calculates the ideal course and gives the first instructions to the ship based on this.
  • We constantly compare this ideal course to the data from your ship, in order to make smart adjustments to the steering where necessary.

In this way your ship will immediately take the right course, preventing any steering adjustments from becoming too difficult. This offers you additional peace of mind, particularly for inland navigation.


SmartTracks: react quickly to course changes

There are always factors that can influence your course: the depth, encountering other (larger) ships, the gradient of the banks, etc. These are just a few of the many factors that determine the route of a ship and can disrupt the ideal course.

It is precisely for this reason that it is incredibly important to have enough reference points to check whether the ship is still following the ideal course, and to make rapid adjustments where necessary. The greater the deviation, the longer it takes to get a ship of this kind back on course.

It is impossible to determine these reference points without a thorough knowledge of all the rivers and channels of Europe’s inland waterways. And this is precisely where SmartTracks makes a real difference: thanks to our many years of experience and expertise, Tresco can offer an unparalleled collection of reference points as reliable beacons for TrackPilot or another autonomous navigation module.


TrackPilot & Navigis River: the best of all worlds

By combining TrackPilot with the Navigis River navigation software, autonomous navigation becomes a simple next step. There is no complex installation required, unlike with other suppliers of technology for autonomous navigation. And you immediately have the very best navigation software, coupled with the very best tracks and automatic navigation module. They all have the same, familiar interface, resulting in a simplified and more comfortable experience for the captain.

Available separately

The TrackPilot navigation software, Navigis navigation system and SmartTracks are perfectly attuned to each other and deliver the best results when used together. However, each offers top quality when deployed separately, and we do not want to prevent skippers with an existing solution from using what they have. That’s why you can still subscribe to our SmartTracks even if you already have your own system for autonomous navigation. Ships that already have their own reference points available, or that always take the same route, such as ferries, can opt for the TrackPilot navigation software alone.