SOLAS CH V / Regulation 19, 2.8.2 requires Heading Control or Track Control systems to be fitted to all vessels of 10000 GT and upward.
There is no requirement to fit a Track Control system to any class of ship. Track Control systems include the functional capabilities of Heading Control systems. An auto pilot system is a Heading Control system.
The autopilot is basically used when a ship has to steer a set course for a long time without alteration.
There are two types of Autopilot system :
- PID Autopilot.
- Auto Adaptive Steering system.
The ship’s hull dynamic characteristics changes due to the load condition, speed of the ship, depth of water, wind and waves etc.
Hence in PID auto pilot, the controls have to be re-adjusted to get optimum steering, whereas in adaptive autopilot, the estimation algorithm is incorporated so that the optimum steering is obtained without re-adjusting controls.