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South Korean shipping companies jointly develop international inspection standards for autonomous navigation vessels


On December 28, 2023, Hyundai Shipbuilding signed a joint development project (JDP) agreement with Avikus, a subsidiary of HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation ship solutions, and Korea Classification Society (KR) for the inspection standards of the autonomous navigation system "HiNAS Control", officially launching the development of international standards for the safety and reliability of autonomous navigation ships.

Yin Changjun, the head of the ship design department at Hyundai Oita Shipbuilding, Lin Daoheng, the representative of Avikus, and Jin Yantai, the technical director of Korea Classification Society, attended the signing ceremony. The three parties have decided to strengthen cooperation in the development of construction and inspection regulations for autonomous navigation vessels.

According to the agreement, Hyundai Shipbuilding and Avikus will build autonomous navigation vessels equipped with HiNAS Control, and with the trial operation of the vessels, the Korean Classification Society will develop testing procedures to verify the safety and reliability of the vessels.

The Korean Classification Society will also conduct research on detailed evaluation projects for autonomous navigation functions such as route planning, speed monitoring, and collision avoidance, and develop inspection standards based on the "Guidelines for Autonomous Navigation Ships" to provide assistance for the smooth progress of ship design and delivery.

Avikus was founded in December 2020. It is a subsidiary of HD Hyundai that established the Autonomous Navigation Research Office of HD Korea Shipbuilding Marine Future Technology Research Institute to improve the research and development level of ship autonomous navigation systems and strengthen the intelligent ship business. Avikus is also HD Hyundai's internal venture capital No.1 enterprise, with a registered capital of 800 million Korean won and assets of 6 billion Korean won, Mainly responsible for the development and sales of autonomous navigation solutions and navigation assistance systems.

In October last year, the 325000 ton ultra large ore carrier (VLOC) "Sea Shanghai" under South Korean Ocean Shipping was permanently equipped with "HiNas Control" and officially put into operation. Previously, Korean Classification Society, Avikus, and Pan Ocean Shipping jointly conducted trial runs and various tests to stabilize the application of HiNas Control. The Sea Shanghai has successfully passed all tests, including key functions of the autonomous navigation system, such as route planning, path tracking, speed monitoring, collision avoidance, and product safety function testing.

Before applying HiNas Control, the South Korean Ministry of Marine Products and Panama, the world's largest flag country, conducted discussions on it based on ship equipment standards and obtained permanent installation permits. This is also the first time Panama has approved the permanent installation of autonomous navigation systems.

In addition, in January of last year, Avikus developed "HiNas Control 2.0" which has been recognized in principle (AIP) by the Korean Classification Society and the Liberian Maritime Authority (LiMA), and received a New Technology Qualification Assessment (NTQ) certificate from the Korean Classification Society in June of the same year. HiNas Control 2.0 is a system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to integrate information collected by various navigation equipment and sensors, and utilizes augmented reality (AR) to automatically enable ships to navigate on optimal routes and speeds or avoid collisions. The development of "HiNas Control 2.0" aims to reduce crew fatigue during navigation, assist in safe navigation of ships, improve fuel efficiency, and contribute to reducing marine accidents and atmospheric pollutant emissions.

It is reported that Avikus has taken over 70 ships carrying "HiNAS Control" from domestic and foreign shipowners based on this, and plans to officially realize the commercialization of autonomous navigation ships starting from the delivery of a 2500TEU container ship built by Hyundai Oupu Shipbuilding in January 2024.

At this signing ceremony, Yin Changjun said, "The Modern Oita Shipbuilding Plan aims to reduce trial and error costs during construction by establishing a 'HiNAS Control' system validation and testing program, quickly accumulate operational data, and improve technological competitiveness in the field of autonomous navigation vessels." Lin Daoheng said: "The ultimate result of commercialization of autonomous navigation equipment in the field of large commercial ships is imminent. Avikus will further strengthen its cooperation with classification societies and shipping companies in the future, and launch more reliable products to the market."

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