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Hyundai Heavy Industries to Kick Off Demonstrations for Autonomous Commercial Ships

Autonomous driving technology has rapidly extended in the automotive world, and it’s starting to be applied to other means of transportation as well, such as ships and trains. As it is with cars, safety is the number one concern, requiring complex research and extensive testing. One of the maritime industry players, determined to make autonomous ships common, is none other than Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the famous brand’s shipbuilding branch.
Avikus and ABS signed a MOU for autonomous technology testing, at CES 2022 7 photos
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As the largest shipbuilding company in the world, with activities spanning over half of century, HHI is a suitable candidate for introducing viable maritime autonomous operations. Avikus is the company’s subsidiary that specializes in autonomous navigation technologies for ships, and it recently signed a contract that will advance these technologies even faster.

Avikus claims to have successfully demonstrated the first autonomous commercial vessel in Korea, in 2021 and is now moving on to even bigger plans. It intends to coordinate the transoceanic voyage of a large-scale commercial ship, using autonomous shipping technology. In order to achieve that, Avikus signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), at this year’s CES event in Las Vegas.

The goal is to obtain Approval in Principle (AIP) for the implementation of these technologies. As a maritime classification society that is part of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), ABS determines the criteria for maritime technology viability. Avikus required this approval in order to start real-world testing of its technology range.

These products include the Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System (HiNAS), Hyundai Intelligence Berthing Assistance System (HiBAS), and Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System 2.0 (HiNAS2.0). Based on the operation data provided by Avikus, ABS will review the design, monitor testing procedures and their implementation at each testing stage. As a result, the autonomous technologies will be certified gradually, stage by stage.

As commercial ships powered by alternative fuels or hybrid propulsion systems are becoming more frequent in the shipping world, autonomous ones are also gearing up to bring changes. The autonomous vessel segment is expected to grow by more than 12% per year, and become a multibillion-dollar sector.

Editor's note: Gallery showing various Hyundai Heavy Industries tankers

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