The partners of the project are Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.; Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Akishima Laboratories Inc.
The partners conducted 54 auto berthing operations with the use of a virtual pier set on the open water, and gained useful data for R&D on auto berthing systems.
Prior to conducting the test, they developed the ship operation plan, test guidelines, and criteria for cancelling the operation ahead of time due to safety concerns, at the same time completing a thorough safety assessment under various phenomena by using the simulation environment.
Moreover, according to MOL's statement, the partners plan a demonstration test with a large-size coastal ferry in FY 2019 after examining the development of ship operation control system and test methods to address the following issues:
- Realization of auto berthing control in consideration of vessel speed, course, and distance with sufficient safety margin, without making seafarers recognize risk.
- Realization of appropriate maneuvering control in consideration of the large-size ferry’s maneuvering performance characteristics.
- Determination of definite criteria for making decisions of continue/stop on auto operation in consideration of events such as machinery and equipment failures that occur during auto operations and other phenomena such as sudden changes in surrounding environmental conditions.
- Determination of guidelines for the transition of ship operation from the system to the crew after the cancellation of the automatic operation considering safety and situation.
In the meantime, MES-S, MOL, TUMST, and Akishima Laboratory will also take part to achieving a safe, reliable ocean transportation through auto-berthing and un-berthing demonstration project and other efforts to promote the development of autonomous vessels.