Thursday, 02 September 2021 16:00

Nippon Yusen to trial self-piloting cargo ship in February 2022


While the world is still looking at self-driving vehicles, Japan is hard at work on autonomous cargo container ships, already planning a 236 mile trip next February into busy cargo lanes with a vessel that has no crew.

Nippon Yūsen Kabushiki Kaisha, otherwise known as NYK, Japan's largest shipping company, will be sending a cargo ship 236 miles from Tokyo to the port of Ise. The ship will have no crew on board and will be entirely self-piloted, relying on satellite guidance, onboard sensors, and artificial intelligence making decisions based on these inputs.

While previous organisations have attempted autonomous shipping expeditions, Nippon Yusen says this is the first to venture out into traffic, mixing with other ships along busy lanes.

Nippon Yusen states 70% of maritime accidents involve human error, so autonomous shipping can eliminate this and arguably prove safer.

Nippon Yusen aims to have Japan lead the world in autonomous cargo shipping.

The business has 55 container ships that can carry almost 4,699 million tons to 100 countries, along with 396 bulk carriers, 110 car carriers, 78 tankers, and 45 other vessels.

The company is also looking to create a super eco ship by 2030 that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 69%, making greater use of wind, solar, and fuel-cell technology.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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