K Line Moves Ahead with New System for Ship Hull Inspection

Japanese companies Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) and Technos Mihara have launched a development project using “an innovative method” for ship hull inspection and maintenance by a drone and image analysis system.

According to K Line, the company had difficulties in the past while inspecting ship parts that are hard to access, such as the top side of cargo hold or ship hull under water.

As a result of multiple on-site trials with aerial and underwater drones with Technos Mihara, K Line said the accuracy of such inspections improved. In addition, the company saw an improvement in efficiency and safety of the inspections by automation using drones.

The two parties are now proceeding to the next step and have reached a mutual agreement to develop a new system for ship hull inspection and maintenance through integration between drone and digital image analysis technology of Technos Mihara together with the know-how of K Line’s ship management.

Back in 2014, Technos Mihara started to develop a drone for the marine transportation business. In April 2018, the company started practical tests on board, supported by K Line. This was followed by a service of aerial crop spraying by drone.

In January this year, Technos Mihara obtained the world’s first approval from ClassNK as an official drone service provider for an alternative vessel inspection system. Also in January, the company obtained an approval – the world’s fourth — from Bureau Veritas as an official drone service provider.

K Line’s new department, AI/Digitalization Promotion Division, was set up in January 2019 and is aiming at introducing new technology and improving the company’s transportation services.

Video Courtesy: K Line