Human errors account for 80% of marine accidents. Certainly, automated and autonomous operations of vessels can significantly reduce human errors. Thereby, they have the potential to make a great contribution to reducing marine accidents.
Furthermore, autonomous operations hold great promise in reducing the workload for mariners, and represent a fundamental change in ocean transport.
Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding (MES-S), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMST), and Akishima Laboratories have formed a project team to advance the safety of vessels’ auto berthing and un-berthing.
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT) has chosen this project for the 2018 Autonomous Vessel Demonstration.
So, through this project, MLIT aims to achieve practical use of autonomous vessels by 2025.
Berthing and un-berthing are some of the most difficult phases of ship operation. Therefore, autonomous operations would be of great benefit. This auto berthing and un-berthing demonstration project will identify technical issues.
The project uses a real vessel. As such, this year, the demonstration test is conducted using the training ship of TUMST “Shioji Maru“. However, starting next year, members are planning a test using a large-size ship in a domestic ferry service.
The project focuses on demonstration tests of auto berthing and un-berthing, but the members also plan to conduct their own demonstration tests of remote monitoring and auto collision avoidance. With these initiatives, the project members aim to accelerate the development of a highly practical automated and autonomous ship operation system.
MES-S, MOL, TUMST, and Akishima Laboratory will contribute to the achievement of safe, reliable ocean transportation through activities including the auto berthing and un-berthing demonstration project and other efforts to promote the development of autonomous sailing vessels.
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