ClassNK approval issued for Japanese autonomous manoeuvring assistant

ClassNK reports that it has issued an Approval in Principle (AiP) for an Advanced Manoeuvring Assistant System to a consortium of Japanese maritime companies, a core technology for the development of autonomous navigation systems.

The vessel manoeuvring assistant was jointly developed by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen Kaisha, Japan Radio Co and YDK Technologies.

The system automatically generates suggested routes to avoid collisions with other ships on a monitored voyage when a collision with another ship due to OZT (Obstacle Zone by Target) is predicted, and can assist the operator in avoiding the collision.

The technology takes the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) into consideration in its calculations and will suggest up to two avoidance routes that will allow the ship to return to its original course line within 1 hour.

In addition, track control can be performed by the assistant for the selected avoidance route by linking the system with Auto Pilot and ECDIS.

The new technology has already been deployed for a sea demonstration test, as part of an autonomous navigation system onboard the RORO cargo ship HOKUREN MARU No. 2 for a trial carried out under the Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration test of Fully Autonomous Ships, a project within the MEGURI 2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Project administrated by the Nippon Foundation.

ClassNK carried out a review of the conceptual design of the system based on its Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation on ships and issued the AiP upon confirming that it complies with the prescribed requirements.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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