NYK successfully tested remote navigation of a tugboat in Tokyo Bay. The trial forms part of a Japanese government supported project to introduce remote navigation by 2025.
The test was conducted on a tugboat, Yoshino Maru, operated by an NYK Group subsidiary. During the test, the tugboat navigated around 12 kilometres between an area off Honmoku to an area near the port of Yokosuka in Tokyo Bay.
The tugboat was operated remotely from an operation centre located 400 kilometers away from Tokyo Bay, while the commands were received by a manned remotely controlled system. A captain onboard the vessel approved the navigation commands, in line with the recently approved APExS framework.
The test revealed problems in ship to shore communication, which the research consortium intends to address through further tests. The consortium intends to begin shop tests of the technology in the second half of 2020 before undertaking verification test on coastal ships before the end of the year.
The third phase of the project involves extending the technology to large vessels. NYK Group said it would continue to work with its partners to develop technology for large vessels in future.