An LNG carrier undertakes a transoceanic journey with autonomous navigation

LNG carrier Courage Prism made a transpacific voyage relying on autonomous navigation technology.

The Hyundai subsidiary Avikus, in collaboration with SK Shipping, announced the completion of the trip on Thursday June 2.

Courage Prism is equipped with Avikus’ autonomous navigation system called HiNAS 2.0, and the company says this is the first instance of a ship using autonomous navigation technology on a transoceanic voyage.

The ship left Freeport on the southern Gulf Coast on May 1. It passed through the Panama Canal and arrived at Boryeong LNG terminal in South Korea’s South Chungcheong province after 33 days. The ship covered half of about 20,000 kilometers in total distance with HiNAS 2.0 autonomous navigation technology.

The HiNAS 2.0 system creates optimal routes and speeds based on Hyundai Global Service’s Integrated Smartship (ISS) solution. According to the company, its artificial intelligence recognizes the surrounding environment, such as weather and wave heights, and nearby vessels, then controls the ship’s steering commands in real time. The technology can control and operate the vessel as well as perform reconnaissance and judgment functions.

In this crossing of the ocean, Courage Prism increased energy efficiency by about 7% while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 5%, the company said. Besides, the system accurately recognized nearby ships during operation to avoid collision more than 100 times.

This voyage was conducted under the real-time monitoring of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) to verify the performance and stability of the technology. Avikus said it plans to bring HiNAS 2.0 to market sometime this year after receiving certification from ABS for the results of this self-propelled ocean crossing.

Captain Young-hoon Koh of Courage Prism said: “Avikus’ autonomous navigation technology was very useful in this ocean crossing test, especially in maintaining navigation routes, autonomously changing direction and avoiding nearby vessels, which were increasing all the working comfort of the crews.”

Avikus CEO Do-hyeong Lim said, “It is significant that we have successfully tested the Tier 2 system to operate a vessel beyond Tier 1 technology providing optimal routes.

“We will lead innovation in improving autonomous navigation solutions not only for large merchant vessels but also for small pleasure craft,” he said.

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