Samsung Heavy presses ahead on its autonomous journey

Lloyd’s Register (LR) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at Posidonia on Tuesday to develop an autonomous ready ship design.

SAS (Samsung Autonomous Ship) is an autonomous navigation system which integrates current navigation equipment, such as ECDIS with TCS (Track Control System), RADAR, CONNING, and remote controlled BMS, with SHI’s new SVISION system. SAS can be installed easily onto a ships system next to other software and evaluates collision risks around a vessel, whilst controlling the direction and speed of a ship in order to avoid objects.

Along with the MOU, LR will certify SHI’s SAS with new SVISION system used as part of the autonomous ready ship design. SHI’s SVESSEL CBM (Condition Based Maintenance) which performs measurement and diagnosis tasks automatically on vessels, will also be certified as part of the joint development project. This will support maintenance by providing remote fault detection of machinery.

LR’s role as part of the MOU will be to perform cooperative studies on autonomous systems in navigational autonomy, including commissioning procedures, guidelines for autonomous systems, verification, and validation activities. This will support SHI with the successful development and implementation of its autonomous system.

LR has also announced the certification of SHI’s digitised electronic logbook system SVESSEL eLogbook, replacing paper navigation logs with automated data entry from voyage, along with a Statement of Fact for SHI’s SVESSEL CII Solution that features real-time monitoring and reporting of CII in response to impending International Maritime Organisation greenhouse gas regulations.

South Korea is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to the emerging trend of autonomous shipping. Splash reported earlier this month on an SK Shipping LNG carrier equipped with kit from Hyundai Heavy Industries, going half way across the Pacific in autonomous mode.

Similar breakthrough voyages have taken place in China, Japan, and Norway. Most recently, China’s first autonomous containership was put into operation by Shandong Port Group on a short-sea route between Dongjiakou and Qingdao in eastern Shandong province. Last November, the world’s first fully emission free autonomous container vessel, Yara Birkeland, completed its maiden voyage in the Oslo fjord. Trials are underway to make the ship self-propelled and finally certified as autonomous.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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