A South Korean shipbuilding group has passed a major milestone in developing autonomous ship operations with a successful technology demonstration
Samsung Heavy Industries remotely monitored a tug sailing on autonomous navigation technology in the Geoje area from a shore centre 241 km away.
In a test voyage, Samsung T-8 tug was navigated in the harbour using Samsung Autonomous Ship technology and an array of sensors and communications equipment. Samsung demonstrated autopilot and remote control technologies and its collision avoidance capabilities during the trial.
The 38-m, 300-gt tug was then returned safely to its destination after a voyage of 9 km without seafarer intervention.
During the test voyage, technology on Samsung T-8 kept the tug to pre-defined route. It identified maritime hazards and changed the route to actively avoid another moving vessel.
Samsung Autonomous Ship collates and analyses real-time transmissions from navigation and communications equipment, including cameras, radar, automatic identification system (AIS) and satellite positioning.
It uses this information to recognise nearby obstacles and ships and automatically controls the propulsion and steering on Samsung T-8.
Information was transmitted to and from the tug during this trial using local long-term evolution (LTE) and 5G mobile communications to the Daejeon Marine Research Center.
An operator remotely monitored the autonomous ship technology and tug on 360º of screens, mimicking the view from the vessel’s bridge. Images from the tug’s cameras were combined with AIS information and augmented reality technology to provide the operator with information on the autopilot track and nearby hazards.
The operator also had information separately from the tug’s radar and electronic chart system. He could intervene if required using commands transmitted over LTE and 5G back to the tug.
According to Samsung, this test demonstrated the technology’s capabilities for avoiding vessels and other hazards in a radius of 1 km from Samsung T-8. This technology autonomously searches for obstacles and uses artificial intelligence to optimise the safest route.
Samsung considers its autonomous ship technology for working alongside bridge teams to augment information available to navigators and reduce their work burden through autonomous navigation.
It intends to incorporate this into newbuildings as advanced navigation assistance systems by 2022.
This is the latest demonstration in a string of tests of autonomous ship navigation technology on tugs worldwide. There have been similar trials in Singapore, Denmark, Turkey and the Netherlands over the past four years, with other nations considering demonstrations of their own.
Results from these successful autonomous navigation trials on tugs will be presented during Riviera’s Smart Tug Operations, Asia, Virtual Conference on 1 December 2020 - use this link to access details and to register for this event
View a video of the demonstration of autonomous navigation on on tug Samsung T-8 and the remote monitoring centre