In pursuit of its goal to achieve fully autonomous shipping, the largest container shipping firm in Japan, Nippon Yusen, will begin testing a remote-controlled vessel in the Pacific Ocean by 2019, according to recent reports.
The testing will reportedly feature a crew on standby, in case safety needs call for intervention. Presuming that all goes well, though, the plans will lead to a complete shift away from the need for a crew — which would cut costs for the company considerably.
To be clearer here, the testing is being considered by the research and development body Nippon Yusen K.K. — a unit of Nippon Yusen. The news comes via a recent interview with a senior general manager at Monohakobi Technology Institute by the name of Hideyuki Ando.
Here’s more on the matter: “Nippon Yusen said last year that it tied up with radar manufacturer Furuno Electric Co. and communication equipment-makers Japan Radio Co. and Tokyo Keiki Inc. to study crash avoidance techniques using autonomous ships.
“Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Japan’s second- and third-largest shipping lines, are also working on autonomous ship technology but declined to say when they would sail a test ship.
“Japan’s government is backing research into data transmission and setting domestic and international standards for automated ships. Its goal is to have the cutting-edge transmission technology included on 250 ships built domestically by 2025, it said in a white paper in June.”
Other firms that are currently working on the development of autonomous ships are BHP Billiton Ltd., Yara International ASA, and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc. Yara International is currently aiming to begin remote testing of autonomous ships in 2019 as well.
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