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NYK conducts maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) trial with pure car truck carrier

NYK has conducted what it says is the world’s first Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) trial performed in accordance with the IMO’s Interim Guidelines for MASS trials.

IRIS_LEADER

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 during the period from 14 to 17 September from Xinsha, China, to the port of Nagoya, Japan, and then from the port of Nagoya to the port of Yokohama, Japan, from 19 to 20 September. Crew performed typical duties during the navigations, which included Japan’s coastal area but excluded bays.

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The SRR system navigates a vessel by calculating optimal routes based on environmental conditions.

During the trial, the SSR’s performance in actual sea conditions was monitored as 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. This trial was a big step toward realizing NYK’s goal of manned autonomous ships.

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.

The NYK Group will accelerate its digitalization efforts based on the company’s medium-term management plan “Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green,” and will conduct development and demonstration tests of advanced operational support technologies to realize manned autonomous ships.

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