NYK autonomous ship project gets ClassNK approval

Classification Society ClassNK reports that it has granted an Approval in Principle (AiP) to NYK Line and its R&D subsidiary MTI for a concept design of an autonomous ship framework that is currently being developed under the codename ‘APExS’.

APExS stands for ‘Action Planning and Execution System’, and refers to the application of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) technologies, such as high-speed computer-based information processing and risk analysis systems, to support situational awareness and decision making by allowing computers to execute manoeuvring operations under the crew’s approval.

NYK worked with ClassNK to verify system safety and redundancy within the project, ensuring the resilience of the human-computer interface by focusing on high levels of design, procedures, and training in executing the concept, allowing the class society to grant certification.

ClassNK notes that it has been involved in a range of autonomous shipping demonstration projects and continues to work on safety standards to support the development and implementation of such systems from a safety perspective.

In January 2020, the Society released its ‘Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation of ships’ which summarise the requirements for each stage of conceptual design, design development, installation, and maintenance during the operation of automated/autonomous technologies. 

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Rob O'Dwyer

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