NYK conducts world’s first autonomous ships trial

NYK has conducted the world’s first Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships trial from Xinsha, China, to the port of Nagoya and then to the port of Yokohama.

NYK has conducted the world’s first Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) trial performed in accordance with the IMO’s Interim Guidelines for MASS trials.
NYK aims to realize its target of manned autonomous ships for safer operations and a reduction in crew workload.
NYK’s objective of manned autonomous ships that will make use of advanced technologies and remote support from office to support ship operation and enhance safety.

About the MASS Trial

Iris Leader, a large NYK-operated pure car truck carrier (PCTC), having a gross tonnage of 70,826 tons, was navigated day and night using the Sherpa System for Real ship (SSR) navigation system.
This system navigates a vessel by calculating optimal routes based on environmental conditions and also incorporate knowledge and perceptions by experienced captains into the program.
The voyage was from Xinsha, China, to the port of Nagoya, Japan, and then from the port of Nagoya to the port of Yokohama, Japan.
Crew performed typical duties during the navigations, which included Japan’s coastal area but excluded bays.
During the trial, the SSR’s performance in actual sea conditions was monitored.
It collected information on environmental conditions around the ship from existing navigational devices, calculated collision risk, automatically determined optimal routes and speeds that were safe and economical, and then automatically navigated the ship.
Using data and experience gained through this trial but not obtainable through onshore simulators, NYK was able to ensure the feasibility of the SSR and its benefit for safe and optimal operations.
NYK will analyze the data and continue to develop the SSR into a more advanced navigation-support system by making adjustments to the difference between the optimal course derived by the program and that determined by professional human judgment.
The SSR verified by this trial will also be applied to future coastal ships, which currently face serious crew shortages.

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