Fully autonomous ship framework gets ClassNK approval

Classification society ClassNK reports that it has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) for a fully autonomous ship framework jointly developed by Japanese shipping company NYK and its technology arm MTI, alongside Japan Marine Science Inc.

APExS-auto is a framework for fully autonomous ship operations through automation of a series of necessary processes, including information gathering, analysis, planning, approval, and execution.

The framework has already been used during a fully autonomous ship demonstration conducted by the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship (DFFAS) Consortium, which is participating in the Joint Technological Development Programme for the Demonstration of Fully Autonomous Ships in Japan as part of the MEGURI2040 autonomous ship project run by the Nippon Foundation.

In 2020, ClassNK issued an original AiP for a crewed autonomous ship framework, code named APExS (Action Planning and Execution System for Full Autonomous), which was developed by NYK and MTI. For the ‘APExS-auto’ concept, ClassNK also conducted a safety review based on the requirements of the society’s own Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation of ships.

Having confirmed its compliance with the requirements within the guidelines, including clarification of basic elements comprising the concept of the system, risk assessments, and backup systems, ClassNK says it was was able to issue the AiP.

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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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