ClassNK updates autonomous vessel guidelines

ClassNK has released its latest guidelines for the design and operation of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS), building on its first provisional concept design guidelines released in 2018.

The new Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation of ships – Design development, Installation and Operation of Automated Operation Systems/Remote Operation Systems document is available to download free of charge via ClassNK’s website for users of its My Page service.

The aim of the publication is to provide guidance for both the design and development of systems that aim to reduce the number of crew members onboard unmanned ships or comparatively small ships with limited short navigation routes, as well as the design and development of systems to manage partial automation of onboard tasks or remote support, mainly with the purpose of supporting the onboard operation of crew members.

ClassNK notes that the safety of technologies in MASS projects needs to be verified in not only the design and development stage, but also in the on board installation stage, and that methods and procedures for maintenance and management during operation must be clarified early in the process.

Based on this concept, the Society has included the contents of its previously published provisional guidelines alongside newly compiled requirements covering the different stages of design and development, installation, and maintenance management during the operation of technology related to MASS.

These guidelines will be continually reviewed as necessary in accordance with the progress of these technologies in the future, ClassNK says.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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