The Nippon Foundation Grant for Work on Unmanned Ship Navigation System

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 12, 2020

Photo Courtesy Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. and Shin Nihonkai Ferry Co.

Photo Courtesy Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. and Shin Nihonkai Ferry Co.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. and Shin Nihonkai Ferry Co., have successfully applied for grant aid under the "Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships" sponsored by The Nippon Foundation.

Funding in hand, the companies will co-develop underlying technologies and systems to enable unmanned ship navigation in the future, with the tangible results of the project being a prototype system installed on a vessel to be operated by Shin Nihonkai Ferry to undergo verification via demonstration testing in Japanese coastal waters.

The prototype unmanned navigation system will be installed in a large high-speed car ferry ordered by Shin Nihonkai Ferry, to be built at the Tategami Main Plant of MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works. Demonstration testing of the new system will be performed for approximately one year, starting from ship delivery scheduled for end-June 2021 through May 2022. During this phase, crew will be on board to monitor operations and ensure safety.

Plans also call for verification and demonstration as a comprehensive system enabling totally unmanned navigation, advancing technological development further. For example, remote diagnosis technologies developed by MHI Group for large-scale equipment will be integrated to achieve unmanned operation of the ship's propulsion plant.

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