Samsung Heavy Industries completes autonomous tug tests

Samsung Heavy Industries has announced the completion of a successful test of a remotely and autonomously controlled tug in the waters off the coast of its Geoje island shipyard in South Korea.

The 38m SAMSUNG T-8 vessel was installed with SHI’s own SAS (Samsung Autonomous Ship) remote autonomous navigation system, and was controlled in the waters off Geoje from a remote centre at the Daejeon Marine Research Centre some 250km away.

The SAS system analyses signals from the tug’s installed navigation and communication equipment such as Radar, GPS, and AIS (Automatic Identification System) to recognise nearby ships and obstacles in real time.

The onboard computer uses that data to evaluate any risk of collision in the context of the ship’s own operational parameters and calculates the optimal course of action to avoid danger. Once a safe route has been plotted the ship can navigate along its new path by automatically controlling the propulsion and steering system.

During the test the SAMSUNG T-8 completed a voyage of approximately 10km without the intervention of the crew, with its collision avoidance systems monitoring and avoiding all ships or obstacles that appeared within a radius of 1km during operation.

The tug was also fitted with a 360-degree viewing camera, connected to the remote centre using LTE/5G technology, which allowed remote operators to control the ship while viewing the vessel from all sides, using real time live images combined with augmented reality (AR) technology to maximise situational awareness.

Shim Yong-Rae, head of Samsung Heavy Industries’ shipbuilding and marine research institute, said that the company plans to further enhance its navigation assistance system with the goal of commercialising the technology in 2022.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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