Hyundai Heavy Industries Group successfully conducted a test run of a fully autonomous craft supported by its own navigation system and the 5G network of a local mobile operator.
he 12-person vessel sailed through the 10-kilometer narrow Pohang Canal in the port city located 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
“The test marks the first success in South Korea and is important because the ship sailed with the autonomous navigation system without the control of the crew members,” said the shipbuilding giant.
The company maintained that the test is not technically equivalent to the “grade four” of ship automation identified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as the crew members were on board for safe navigation.
Grade four of a ship implies full autonomy; that is to say, that the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself. In October, local rival Samsung Heavy Industries Co. said it had successfully sailed its remote 300-ton autonomous ship.
The 38-meter-long ship equipped with its remote autonomous navigation system sailed 10 kilometers in remotely controlled seas.
Avikus Corp., which led the sea trial of the fully autonomous vessel, plans to conduct a sea trial of a large merchant ship using its unassisted navigation technologies in the second half.
HHIH said the market for autonomous boats and related equipment is expected to grow an annual average of 12.6 percent to $ 235.7 billion by 2028, citing data from global market research service provider Acute Market.
KT said its low-latency 5G network enabled the sending of real-time sensor data from the ship’s operations, including 360-degree video images of the ship, as well as Lidar and radar information, enabling let the ship navigate autonomously.
The telecommunications operator said it will continue to work with Avikus to develop new business models for autonomous ships.
The move comes after KT bought a stake in Hyundai Heavy’s robotics unit last year, with the aim of strengthening its competitiveness in smart factories and robotics solutions.