R&D competition in the Korean shipbuilding industry is intensifying to preoccupy autonomous shipbuilding technology, called the “4th Industrial Revolution” on the sea. Hyundai Heavy Industries Group succeeded in crossing the Pacific Ocean for the first time in the world by applying an autonomous operation solution to a super-large LNG carrier, and recently Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering succeeded in maritime testing as a test ship dedicated to autonomous operation. Samsung Heavy Industries also seems to have ignited competition as it has completed self-driving maritime demonstrations in coastal areas connecting the West Sea, the South Sea and the East Sea.

These companies are developing their own autonomous operation solutions and applying them to large ships and test ships to raise the level of collision avoidance, and they are reinforcing research and development of related technologies to preoccupy international standards.

According to industries on the 28th, Hyundai Heavy Industries Group is considered the most advanced in the technology of autonomous ships in Korea.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Group’s autonomous start-up Avicus signed an order contract for its autonomous operation solution “HiNAS 2.0” in August and began commercializing the second stage of autonomous operation for the first time in the world. In June, it succeeded in crossing the ocean of autonomous operation of large ships for the first time in the world.

“HiNAS 2.0,” a two-stage autonomous operation solution for large ships, is a version that adds “autonomous control” technology to the first-stage autonomous operation solution developed by Abicus in 2020. Beyond supporting sailors’ decision-making, it is characterized by being able to cope with various unexpected situations such as speed control and collision avoidance through deep learning-based situational awareness and judgment.

An official from Hyundai Heavy Industries said, “Based on the accumulated actual operation data, the function to create an optimal operation route and minimize fuel consumption by controlling the engine output autonomously by ships.”

As Hyundai Heavy Industries Group has expanded its technology preoccupation, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries have also recently stepped up efforts to verify autonomous ship technology.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering completed a two-day “DS4” test in waters near Jebudo Island in the West Sea on the 16th and 17th. The ship “DAN-V,” which was used for this technology verification, is a test ship dedicated to autonomous operation that simulates large merchant ships. Daewoo Shipbuilding explained that it is possible to verify the autonomous operation system for large merchant ships by securing operational data similar to that of actual large ships with a test ship exclusively for autonomous operation.

However, Daewoo Shipbuilding has not reached the stage of applying autonomous operation technology to actual ships. The overall evaluation of the industry is that it is in the stage of developing unit technologies such as autonomous operation and remote control technologies one by one. Daewoo Shipbuilding plans to secure fully autonomous operation technology by 2024 by applying autonomous operation technology to solid lines next year.

Samsung Heavy Industries also succeeded in demonstrating its autonomous operation coast, which moves about 950km to Jeju Island and Dokdo via Mokpo by applying its own remote autonomous operation system to large 9,200-ton (t) ships. The ‘World Roach’, which is equipped with the remote autonomous operation system ‘SAS’ (Samsung Autonomous Ship) developed since 2016, avoided the risk of 29 collisions encountered with other ships during autonomous operation.

“If you look at the level of technology such as commercialization, Hyundai Heavy Industries is the most advanced, followed by Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering,” an industry source said. “Samsung Heavy Industries is trying to commercialize it, but it is too early to judge because it has not yet received orders.”

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