Japanese firms announce AI-powered navigation R&D project

As a part of an initiative to accelerate the implementation of autonomous ship technologies, Japanese shipping company ‘K’ Line has entered into a joint R&D agreement with Japan Radio Co (JRC) and YDK Technologies to develop an integrated navigation support system that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and other support technologies for assisted vessel manoeuvring.

The project aims to develop a system that will help to prevent serious maritime accidents such as ship collisions and groundings and contribute to the introduction of autonomous ship operations, combining ‘K’ Line’s experience in vessel management with JRC’s marine equipment knowledge and YDK’s steering and propulsion control technology.

The partners also plan to incorporate systems provided by Groke Technologies, Fujitsu and Forum8 in the development of their autonomous infrastructure.

The new system will be developed to meet IMO’s Degree 1 standard for development of autonomous ships, where part of the ship’s operation is automated but the crew is still on board to allow human operators to take control if any unforeseen circumstances arise.

Starting from April 2023, at-sea demonstrations are expected to be conducted on various ship types and routes, both domestic and international, with the aim of full-scale commercial implementation in the future, the companies said.

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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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