ClassNK releases guidelines for concept design of autonomous ships

JUNE 3, 2018 — Classification society ClassNK (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai) has released its "Guidelines for Concept Design of Automated Operation/ Autonomous Operation of Ships."

The guidelines incorporate basic elements of concept design safety for automated ship operation systems.

In the maritime industry, efforts towards the development of automated operation systems for ships are being made with the aim of improving navigation safety, working conditions onboard, ship operation, and more.

This development of automated operation systems for merchant ships is expected to be achieved step by step,

Since the onboard operations and duties performed by ships’ crews vary widely, design developments for automated ship operation are expected to be carried out under various conditions and concepts.

ClassNK says it is essential to clarify the targeted operations/duties that would be automated, distinguish the division of roles between the crew (humans) and the automated operation systems (machines), and to establish a common understanding among everyone involved in the operation of the ship.

Accordingly, ClassNK has developed these guidelines, with safety in mind, to address the elements that must be considered in the concept design of automated operation systems.

As there will likely be a variety of different design developments when it comes to the automated operation of ships, the Guidelines have initially been published as a provisional version that will be finalized through review and revision after being applied for a certain period of time.

ClassNK also plans to develop further guidelines for various stages of the automated operation of ships from design development to actual operation.

The guidelines are available to download free of charge via ClassNK’s website www.classnk.com for those who have registered for the ClassNK “My Page” service.

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