High-speed car ferry newbuild will be unmanned systems test bed

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The unmanned navigation technology will be installed in this high speed car ferry on order at Nagasaki Shipyard

Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. and Shin Nihonkai Ferry Co., Ltd. are to jointly develop a prototype system for unmanned ship navigation and install it on a large high-speed ferry.

The project is being backed by a grant from the Nippon Foundation’s
Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships,

Once the development phase has been completed, the prototype unmanned navigation system will be installed in a large high-speed car ferry ordered by Shin Nihonkai Ferry, to be built at the Tategami Main Plant of MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works.

Demonstration testing of the new system will be performed for approximately one year, starting from ship delivery scheduled for end-June 2021 through May 2022. During this phase, crew will be on board to monitor operations and ensure safety.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has been developing automation systems to assist ship navigation and cargo handling since the 1990s. Under the new development program, the company will collaborate not only with Shin Nihonkai Ferry but also with academic institutions, IT businesses and control system engineering firms in the design, construction and total verification of the system, which will also advance technologies such as the remote diagnostics developed by MHI Group for large-scale equipment.

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