Japanese shipping companies are planning to launch autonomous ships at sea by 2025, with a hope to reduce maritime accidents resulted by human errors. Japan’s new ship models will include self-navigating system, a technology that is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to Nikkei, the project includes shippers, as Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Nippon Yusen, that plan to share experience and split costs for this technology. The smart ships would predict onboard malfunctions and other troubles, which would help in avoiding maritime accidents. Fully unmanned ships are also included in the project.
In addition, the artificial-intelligence-driven steering system would use technologies as the “internet of things” – which is the linking of various devices to the net – to gather and analyze data about weather at sea and dangerous obstacles, as well as shipping information. The AI would use this data to plot the most fuel-efficient, safest and shortest route.
Through this collaboration, Japan intends to take the lead in this technology. The Japanese government will include the joint development of self-navigating ships in a national revitalization strategy it will compile within this month.
Nippon Yusen is researching technology that would let ships use data to assess collision risks. Japan Marine United shipbuilding is working on a system to diagnose breakdowns before they happen by analyzing a ship’s condition, such as the status of its engines and fuel oil.
Except for this, Norway has recently established a testing area for self-navigating ships. Moreover, the U.K.’s Rolls-Royce has announced plans to develop technology for autonomous shipping and it has joined forces with several stakeholders to promote relevant projects.