NYK and its group companies MTI Co. Ltd., Keihin Dock Co. Ltd., and Japan Marine Science Inc. (JMS) have successfully tested the remote navigation of a tugboat on Tokyo Bay as a part of the Japanese government’s Sea Trial Project on Remote Control Navigation.
A tugboat operated by Shin-Nippon Kaiyosha Corporation, an NYK Group company, was fitted with a manned remotely controlled system and operated remotely from an operations center in the city of Nishinomiya, approximately 400 kilometers away. The tugboat was maneuvered approximately 12 kilometers in Tokyo Bay between an area off Honmoku and an area off the port of Yokosuka.
The operator in the remote center was able to use sensors and cameras on the tugboat to recognize surrounding conditions and created a route plan and action plan (collision avoidance route plan). The operator shared the plans with the tugboat captain, who then approved them. The tugboat then navigated \in accordance with the approved plans.
Going forward, NYK and its group companies say they will work to resolve ship-to-shore communications issues revealed during the experiment and to further improve the system with the aim of starting remote navigation tests using domestic coastal ships later this year. The aim is to develop technology for large vessels in the future.