The Hyundai built cargo ship made the voyage across the Pacific Ocean all without the help of a captain, instead it was placed under autonomous control for most of the 10,000km journey.
Prism Courage, the name of the natural gas tanker, was operated by the autonomous navigation system called HiNAS 2.0. Essentially, it helped the mega-tonne ship to do a multitude of things outside of steering, and managed to steer the vessel without help for about half of the trip.
“Avikus’ autonomous navigation technology was greatly helpful in this ocean-crossing test especially for maintaining navigating routes, autonomously changing directions, and avoiding nearby ships, which were all increasing ship crews’ work conveniences,” said Captain Young-hoon Koh.
On May 1 the vessel left Freeport, Mexico and was at sea for about 33 days until it arrived at Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Chungcheong Province, South Korea.
An easier time for the crew wasn’t the only good thing to come out of this achievement. Teams found that using the HiNAS 2.0 system increased fuel efficiency by about seven per cent, while the ships emission were reduced by five per cent.
The technology also located over 100 ships along the route and stayed clear of each and every one of them. Avikus, subsidiary of Hyundai who oversees shipping operations commented on how this system could potentially revolutionise the shipping and boating industry.
“It is meaningful that we have successfully tested the level 2 system to operate a vessel beyond the level 1 technology providing optimal routes,” Avikus CEO Do-hyeong Lim said.
“We will lead innovation by upgrading autonomous-navigation solutions not only for large merchant ships but also for small leisure boats.”
It’s expected that once they get certification, HiNAS 2.0 will be available to consumers from next yeah.