China’s 1st Smart Ship Makes a Debut

China’s first smart ship, Great Intelligence, was presented this week at Marintec China 2017, Shanghai which hosted revelations of several innovative ship design concepts.

Great Intelligence, a 38,800 dwt modified version of the Green Dolphin fuel-efficient bulk carrier concept, was announced in 2015 as the first smart ship pilot project in China.

The ship was designed by Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI) and built at Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co. (GWS), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

Lloyd’s Register (LR), System Engineering Research Institute (SERI) and China Class Society (CCS) were also involved in the project.

Great Intelligence features an intelligent navigation system which enables it to optimize shipping routes in order to reach the destination in shortest time and with minimal fuel consumption.

The best routes are selected based on the data collected from ship and shore-based service stations.

The “self-learning” ship can also spot dangers and identify system bugs.

However, it has been highlighted that “actions taken in response to any information provided by the Intelligent Navigation System shall be by human.”

Other key features of the ship include:

  • Ship Operation and Maintenance System (SOMS) Health Management which is in charge of monitoring the ship’s main equipment performance;
  • SOMS Intelligent Integration Platform, which manages data, and makes analysis and forecasting,
  • SOMS Energy Efficiency Management, which monitors energy efficiency and provides analytics and optimisation and decision-making support.

Factory acceptance and sea trial tests for the Great Intelligence’s smart system took place last month and the ship’s smart system met the requirements.

During Marintec LR handed over the ship the cyber-enabled ship descriptive notes.

Qiu Bohua, Director, CSSC Systems Engineering Research Institute, Oceanic Intelligent Technology Innovation Centre, explained that the SOMS utilises advanced sensing technology to build the ship’s network.

“Moreover, SOMS builds the brain based on intelligent technologies such as machine learning. Finally, SOMS realises the intelligent application such as energy efficiency management system and health management system.”

“SDARI has been making effort to design ships that are safe, economic and efficient. Great Intelligence is one of those. We redesigned the ship as a digital ship, we didn’t just apply the smart systems. After the delivery, it will be an example what a smart ship is and make the shipping safer, more economical and more efficient,” Li Xin, Innovation Centre Smart Ship Project Team Vice Director of SDARI, said.

Great Intelligence will be used by Sinotrans Shipping to transport coal and salt between China, Australia and Southeast Asia, according to Xinhua.

The promotion was also used as an occasion for the formal establishment of the China Smart Ship Innovation Alliance.

The alliance, which includes China Classification society, CSSC, SERI and SDARI, among other members, aims to speed up technological advancement and industrial development of the smart ships.

Image Courtesy: LR, CSSC