Samsung Heavy Industries(SHI), Korea’s major shipbuilder, has succeeded in testing autonomous ships connecting Daejeon and Geoje based on 5G communication for the first time in the shipbuilding industry. It is said that SHI has performed a self-operating ship that meets all the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea(COLREGs) established by the International Maritime Organization(IMO).
The autonomous operation, where a 300-ton tug boat was test operated from a ground control center in Daejeon, set sail from the SHI shipyard on Geoje Island. The ship was remote-controlled in real-time via wireless communication technology from the inland control tower in Deajeon, which is about 250 km away from Geoje island. The self-operating vessel is monitored via the screen that displays a 360-degree view. The testing video was released by Samsung Heavy Industries.
The tugboat installed with a remote autonomous system called Samsung Autonomous Ship(SAS) returned after sailing about 6.2 miles without human intervention. The boat proved to avoid other ships and obstacles that were detected by sensors within a radius of a kilometer. SAS can assess the risk of collision and find an optimal route, reducing the crew burden. SHI showed confidence in commercializing an advanced system with AI by 2020.
Korean shipbuilders have tried to develop eco-friendly and fuel-saving smart vessels. The market for autonomous ships, equipment, and materials is estimated to grow 12.8 percent annually. Korean major shipbuilders are focusing on the development of smart vessels.
SHI has partnered with DNV GL, an international registrar classification society, for jointly developing element technologies for designing wind turbine floaters. The floaters are a giant structure that supports wind power generation facilities on open seas with remote-controlled maintenance technologies. SHI plans to respond to the demand for floating offshore wind power based on its cumulated offshore engineering abilities and manufacturing experience.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) also plans to develop high-efficiency ships by using carbon-free and smart technology. DSME continues to upgrade technologies for navigating environment measurement, maintenance, and repair and safe navigation to reach the goal of autonomous navigation.
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) introduced the world’s first smart ship in March 2011 and developed the Integrated Smart Ship Solution (ISS) based on IoT technology 2017. HHI this year developed the HiMSEN Engine, which is loaded with the latest technologies such as AI, big data, and the IoT and is expected to save billions of won in fuel costs or cut 10 percent a year.