Avikus, a subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, has successfully carried out autonomous navigation of a large merchant ship across the ocean for the first time of its kind in the world.
Together with SK Shipping, the company completed the autonomous navigation of Prism Courage, a 180,000 square-meter-class ultra-large LNG carrier. The vessel is equipped with HiNAS 2.0, Avikus’ Level 2 autonomous navigation solution. This transoceanic voyage is the world’s first case of a vessel using autonomous navigation technology.
The Prism Courage departed from the Freeport on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on May 1, passed through the Panama Canal, and finally arrived at the Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Korea’s western Chungcheong Province. The vessel sailed half of roughly 20,000 kilometers in total distance with the autonomous navigation technology HiNAS 2.0.
The HiNAS 2.0 not only steered it but sought out the optimal routes and best speeds based on Hyundai Global Service’s Integrated Smartship Solution (ISS) artificial intelligence. Its artificial intelligence recognizes the surrounding environment, such as weather and wave heights, and nearby ships, and then controls the vessel’s steering commands in real-time. The Level 2 autonomous navigation technology can control and operate the ship in addition to the functions of recognition and judgment.
The navigation system provided an increase in fuel efficiency by around 7% while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 5%. Also, it accurately recognized the location of nearby ships during operation to avoid collision about 100 times. This voyage was conducted under real-time monitoring of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) to verify the performance and stability of the technology.
Avikus plans to commercialize HiNAS 2.0 within this year after receiving a certification from ABS for the results of this self-propelled ocean crossing.
“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 of the Prism Courage.