ABS approves Japanese fully autonomous ship project

The design of a pioneering, fully autonomous ship framework has received approval in principle (AIP) from ABS.

The fully autonomous ship framework named APExS-auto (Action Planning and Execution System for full autonomous) was developed by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) and Japan Marine Science Inc. (JMS) as part of the fully autonomous ship program MEGURI 2040.

ABS worked with MTI and JMS to review the APExS-auto framework in accordance with the ABS Requirements for Autonomous and Remote-Control Functions. The APExS-auto framework is designed using a systems engineering approach to govern berth-to-berth autonomous navigation operations. It covers the full spectrum of operations from onboard activities to supervision activities in the remote operations center.

ABS understands that autonomous systems are not stand-alone products but fully integrated with vessel infrastructure and the result of numerous advancements in a wide variety of mechanisms including sensors, imaging, connectivity, machine learning and application of systems engineering in ship design.

…said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

The development of an appropriate and reasonable risk assessment framework is necessary for the social implementation of autonomous ships, and we believe that this collaboration with ABS is a milestone towards this end,”

…said Captain Satoru Kuwahara, DFFAS+Project Director, JMS Executive Officer and General Manager of Marine Technical Group.

As explained, the AIP provides a roadmap for autonomous vessels complying with the APExS-auto framework to qualify for possible ABS classification notations such as AUTONOMOUS (NAV, MNV, RO3) for navigation, maneuvering, collision detection and collision avoidance. ABS will continue to work together with MTI and JMS on their journey as they refine the framework for application on real use case vessels.

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