China’s southern city of Zhuhai has commenced the construction of a test ground for autonomous ships as part of its plan to develop an industrial platform in the new sector.
The Wanshan Marine Test Field, which will cover a total area of 771.6 sq km, will become the largest autonomous ship test ground in the world. It will allow the testing of technologies such as autonomous steering and obstacle avoidance.
The Zhuhai government will work with China Classification Society (CCS), Wuhan University of Technology (WUT), and Yunzhou Tech to jointly develop relevant technologies including big data, automatic mooring terminals, communication networks and cyber safety.
The test ground is expected to be the main base for research into unmanned ship technology in China over the next three to five years.
In December, CCS, WUT and Yunzhou Tech signed an MOU to jointly develop the first autonomous cargo ship in China. According to the plan, the ship, named Jin Dou Yun, will have a cargo capacity of 500 tons and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.