HHI partners up with ABS for real-life autonomous ship tech trials

South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industry (HHI) Group has teamed up with the classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to work on real-life trials of autonomous ship technologies.

Courtesy of ABS
Courtesy of ABS

On 9 January, HHI’s in-house venture specializing in developing autonomous navigational systems, Avikus, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ABS to obtain the Approval in Principle (AiP) for the implementation of autonomous ship technologies.

Under the MoU, ABS will work with HHI’s Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE) and Avikus to integrate autonomous and remote-control functions into vessels.

The agreement will see Avikus start stage-by-stage demonstration tests for its various solutions including Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System (HiNAS), Hyundai Intelligence Berthing Assistance System (HiBAS) and Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System 2.0 (HiNAS2.0) in compliance with the ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote Control Functions published in July 2021.

Through the trials, Avikus aims to obtain certificates by stage for its autonomous vessel technologies, while ABS will review the design, regulate testing procedures and verify the implementation for each stage based on the actual operation data of Avikus.

The parties expect the experience from this collaboration to contribute to the development and improvement of real-life autonomous maritime operations.

Furthermore, Avikus and ABS plan to jointly demonstrate the autonomous shipping technology for a transoceanic voyage of a large-scale commercial vessel which is currently under development.

“Autonomous vessels will have a significant role to play in the future of maritime transportation but they will need to be at least as safe as existing vessels”, said John McDonald, ABS’ executive vice president and COO.

“The agreement with ABS holds a great significance as it promotes the technology standardization through the stage-by-stage certification of Avikus’ proprietary technologies. With these commitments, we will contribute to expanding the autonomous vessel market and proactively preoccupy the related markets”, added Avikus’ CEO Do-hyeong Lim.

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The agreement was signed during the global tech-industry trade show CES 2022 in Las Vegas where HHI Group introduced a leisure boat equipped with the full autonomous navigation technology and presented a future vision of the maritime mobility sector centring on autonomous vessel technology through simulated navigation applying the virtual reality technology.

To remind, in June 2021, Avikus became Korea’s first company to successfully demonstrate fully autonomous navigation of a 12-passenger cruise ship.