The proposed joint demonstration project by four Japanese organisations relating to the safety of vessels’ auto berthing and un-berthing has been selected for Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT)’s autonomous vessel demonstration project.
The MLIT said: “Human errors account for 80 per cent of marine accidents, and since automated and autonomous operations of vessels can significantly reduce human errors, they have the potential to make a great contribution to reducing accidents.
“Furthermore, autonomous operations hold great promise in reducing the workload for mariners, and represent a fundamental change in ocean transport. Through this project, MLIT aims to achieve practical use of autonomous vessels by 2025.”
The four Tokyo organisations involved in the joint proposal are: Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co.; Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd; Tokyo University of Marine Science & Technology (TUMST) and Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen) Inc.
MLIT said: “Berthing and un-berthing are some of the most difficult phases of ship operation, in which autonomous operations would be of great benefit.
“This auto berthing and un-berthing demonstration project will identify technical issues by demonstrating autonomous operation with a real vessel and study ways to achieve practical use.”
In the current financial year, the demonstration test will be conducted by using the university’s training ship Shioji Maru, 425gt, and starting the following year it is planned to use a large-size ship in a domestic ferry service for the test.
Even before this project got underway, Mitsui ES-S and MOL have been involved in technology and development of autonomous sailing for practical use with the aim of realising safer and more reliable ocean transport.