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K-Line tests autonomous navigation system on large RoRo ship

The Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) has successfully tested an autonomous navigation system on board a ro-ro ship at sea.

The shipping company is involved in the development program for fully autonomous ships, the “MEGURI 2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Project” (MEGURI2040). As part of the Proof of Concept (PoC) phase, the trial operation of a demonstrator with just a single function of the future autonomous navigation system has been successfully tested on board a RoRo ship at sea. [ds_preview]

The aim is to implement a fully autonomous ship. A round trip was realized on the existing RoRo freight route over a distance of approximately 1,600 km.

The autonomous navigation system was used on the 11,413 gross ton ro-ro cargo ship “Hokuren Maru No. 2”, which K-Line operated for a total of 3 voyages from October 1, 2023. According to the shipping company, this showed that the autonomous navigation system was able to detect, analyze and make decisions in coastal navigation with a high degree of accuracy.

According to the company, the autonomous navigation system was used for navigation on the test route, while the crew’s normal navigation tasks were maintained. In situations where evasive action was required, the autonomous navigation system suggested alternative routes and steered the ship to safely avoid other vessels. The autonomous navigation system achieved an average system operating rate of around 96% in the specified sea area.

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