Shipping giant NYK says it has conducted the world’s first Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) trial performed in accordance with the IMO’s Interim Guidelines for MASS trials.
Iris Leader, a large NYK-operated PCTC (pure car truck carrier) was navigated day and night using a Sherpa System for Real ship (SSR) navigation system from 14 to 17 September on a journey from Xinsha, China, to the port of Nagoya, Japan, and then from Nagoya to Yokohama between 19 to 20 September.
The ship’s crew performed routine duties during the voyages, which took in Japan’s coastal regions but excluded any bays.
During the trial, the SSR’s performance was monitored as it collected information on environmental conditions around the ship, calculated collision risk, automatically determined optimal routes and speeds, and automatically navigated the ship.
NYK says that the trial “was a big step toward realizing NYK’s goal of manned autonomous ships”.
The company will analyse the data from the trial to continue developing the SSR into a more advanced navigation-support system by making adjustments to the difference between the optimal course derived by the program and that determined by professional human judgment.
It aims to accelerate its digitalization efforts based on the company’s medium-term management plan ‘Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green’, and will conduct development and demonstration tests of advanced operational support technologies to realize manned autonomous ships.