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China developing unmanned ships

Written by Marine Log Staff
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Concept design of an unmanned ship from Rolls-Royce

AUGUST 12, 2015—China’s Maritime Safety Administration announced that a key research project to develop unmanned ships won unanimous approval from Acceptance Expert Group on July 31.


The MSA says that the “Unmanned Multifunctional Maritime Ships Research and Development Project” was set up in 2012, with the research being conducted Wuhan University of Technology under the guidance of the project management unit of Zhejiang MSA. After three years, the project has completed the development and won four national patents.


The Unmanned Multifunctional Maritime Ships Research and Development Project, says MSA, realizes all-day networked sea supervision, intelligent search and rescue, motorized multipoint coverage by shore-vessel based detection and control platform managing unmanned search and rescue vessels on a low-cost basis, which effectively improved the ability and efficiency in maritime search and rescue.


Just like Google and automakers have been busy developing unmanned or autonomous vehicles, so, too, have maritime researchers been working hard at realizing the unmanned vessel or ship. In Europe, R&D is being carried out through a project called MUNIN. It says autonomous and unmanned vessels are seen as a key element for a competitive and sustainable European shipping industry in the future. MUNIN expects to contribute to the realization of the vision of autonomous and unmanned vessels by developing and verifying a concept for the autonomous ship.

The idea behind the autonomous ship is to lower crew costs, provide better working conditions for the crew, increase safety by reducing human error, and fleet optimization.

MSA says unmanned ships can be used in its maritime system, as well as the systems of ocean, fishery administration, weather, border defense, military, etc.


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