YDK Technologies Co., Ltd. has been participated in the Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration test of Fully Autonomous Ships under the MEGURI 2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Project* (MEGURI2040) administrated by the Nippon Foundation. In this time, we succeeded the sea demonstration test with PoC** stage of autonomous navigation system consisting of single function on board ship aiming to social implementation of fully autonomous ship, and we implemented on a round-trip route of approximately 1,600 km between Hitachi Port and Kushiro Port, which is the existing RORO cargo ship service route.
The autonomous navigation system was installed on the 11,413 gross-ton large RORO cargo ship "HOKUREN MARU No. 2" operated by KAWASAKI KINKAI KISEN KAISHA, Ltd.(Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen) for a total of 3 voyages starting on October 1, 2023***.
We confirmed that recognition, analysis, and decision making by the autonomous navigation system are executed with a high degree of accuracy in coastal navigation. In the experimental route, the autonomous navigation system was used to navigate while maintaining the normal crew navigation tasks, and in situations where avoidance was necessary, the autonomous navigation system proposed avoidance routes and controlled steering to safely avoid other vessels. The autonomous navigation system has achieved an average system operation rate of approximately 96% in the sea area set as ODD****.
Our work in the PoC stage
Together with KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA, Ltd., Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen and Japan Radio Co., Ltd., we have successfully completed a retrofit demonstration test of the autonomous navigation system (Target, Detection, Planning and Actuation), an on-board system to be developed for social implementation in the second phase of MEGURI 2040. The data obtained from the demonstration tests will be used to update the autonomous navigation system in terms of fuel saving and safety.
Our actions towards 2025
To upgrade on-board systems for the 2025 demonstration, we will develop a redundant system of heading sensors and improve the automatic route-keeping performance when approaching and leaving the berth.
We will continue to work with KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA, Ltd., Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen and Japan Radio Co., Ltd. to develop a comprehensive system that will contribute to the improvement of fully autonomous ships technology in order to realize the autonomous navigation system on the existing RORO vessel "HOKUREN MARU No. 2".
* A subsidization scheme to cultivate further momentum for technological development in the field of fully autonomous ships, promoting changes in logistics, economies, and social infrastructure in Japan, and supporting such technological development through the success of the world's first fully autonomous operation trials by domestic coastal vessels. We are participating as a member of the Designing the Future of Fully Autonomous Ships Plus consortium (DFFAS+).
** PoC（Proof of Concept）：Verification process prior to prototype development
This is the sea demonstration test of the On board system only, and is one of the efforts toward the 2025 demonstration test of an Fully Autonomous Ship connected to shore-side-system.
*** Voyage 1 : October 1-3, 2023, Voyage 2 : October 9-11, 2023, Voyage 3 : October 17-19, 2023
**** ODD（Operational Design Domain）：Operational design areas where autonomous navigation systems operate normally