Korea invests in autonomous ship research facility

The Korean government is to invest 130 billion won (US$110 million) over the next three years in the development of a new state-of-the-art autonomous ship research facility in Ulsan, South Korea, with the aim of starting operations in 2023.

UIPA, the South Korean Information and Communication Technology Promotion Agency, has agreed a deal with Kongsberg Digital to supply a fully-featured bridge simulator to the facility via a contract to be delivered by Korean company eMARINE Global, which will act as a focal point for early research projects.

The simulator, due for installation in November this year, will facilitate testing of autonomous vessel technologies in a safe virtual environment before later trials in a designated autonomous ship test bed, and will also be used for research and development of navigational equipment and display systems.

The implementation project will additionally include development of new software to integrate external inputs such as GPS and wave sensors, as well as an API interface to permit simulation data transfer to other systems.

Kongsberg Digital says it will supply an area database for a virtual ‘Ulsan Port’ to be used with the simulator, and a modelling tool enabling new simulator vessel models to be built from the ground up.

“Our simulation technology will support UIPA to test, verify and shape innovations in the field of autonomy,” said Kongsberg Digital’s senior vice president Tone-Merete Hansen.

“Other international autonomy projects have recently selected our simulation technology to carry out advanced autonomy studies, so we see a new market for advanced simulation growing.”