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Hyundai Heavy Industries Pushing for Autonomous Operation of LNG Carrier across Ocean

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group is promoting an autonomous operation of a super-large liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier across an ocean for the first time in the world.

The group is planning to hold the demonstration event at the end of 2021. It will use a 300-meter-long vessel currently being built by the group’s shipbuilding holding company Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE).

The vessel will be loaded with Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System (HiNAS) 2.0, which automatically recognizes objects surrounding the vessel and route to alert the risk of collision, and Hyundai Intelligent Berthing Assistant System (HiBAS), which provides a full view of the ship when berthing or clearing.

The autonomous navigation technologies were developed by Avikus, a group affiliate specializing in autonomous navigation technology. The route for the demonstration event will be decided later between a Pacific Ocean route and an Indian Ocean route in consideration of the vessel construction schedule.

In particular, the group will use second-level autonomous navigation technology for the demonstration. It said that no companies in the world have ever attempted to test autonomous operation of a large merchant ship across an ocean using second-level autonomous navigation technology. Based on the results of this demonstration, the group will decide on commercialization of its self-developed second-level autonomous navigation solution.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), autonomous navigation technology is largely divided into four levels. A first-level solution provides decision-making support to sailors such as captains. HHI Group has already commercialized a first-level solution. A second-level solution remotely controls a ship with the crew on board, while at the third level, an autonomous navigation system controls most of the hull with the minimum number of crew members on board. The fourth level requires a completely unmanned autonomous navigation of a vessel by a system that recognizes and controls all situations on its own.

HHI Group plans to introduce the world’s first self-navigation solution for a leisure boat in the first half of next year after completing an LNG carrier’s crossing of an ocean within 2021. The leisure boat is currently under construction at Hyundai Mipo Shipyard and is scheduled to be delivered to Ulsan City in October next year.

Earlier last month, the group demonstrated an autonomous operation of a 12-seat cruise at the 10-km-long Pohang Canal in North Gyeongsang Province.

In addition, the group is participating in a national autonomous navigation project led by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In line with its carbon-neutral policies, the government has decided to invest a total of 160 billion won over the next five years in developing autonomous navigation technologies. It aims to preempt 50 percent of the global self-driving ship market by 2030. Allied Market Research, a global market research firm, forecasts that the self-navigation ship market will grow by 4.4 percent annually to 150 trillion won by 2030.
Source: Business Korea

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