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MHI and Shin Nihonkai Ferry to co-develop unmanned ship navigation system

Large high-speed car ferry on which demonstration of the unmanned ship navigation system will be performed. Large high-speed car ferry on which demonstration of the unmanned ship navigation system will be performed.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has collaborated with Shin Nihonkai Ferry to co-develop technologies and systems to enable unmanned ship navigation.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} The companies successfully applied for grant aid under the "Joint Technological Development Programme for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships" sponsored by The Nippon Foundation. With this support, the two companies will develop the technologies needed to support unmanned navigation. The aim is to launch a prototype system that will be installed on a vessel to be operated by Shin Nihonkai Ferry and undergo verification via demonstration testing in Japanese coastal waters.

Once the development phase has been completed, the prototype unmanned navigation system will be installed in a large high-speed car ferry ordered by Shin Nihonkai Ferry, to be built at the Tategami Main Plant of MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works. Demonstration testing of the new system will be performed for approximately one year, starting from ship delivery scheduled for end-June 2021 through May 2022. During this phase, crew will be on board to monitor operations and ensure safety.

Under the new development program, MHI will collaborate not only with Shin Nihonkai Ferry but also with academic institutions, IT businesses and control system engineering firms in the design, construction and total verification of a large car ferry which integrates advanced unmanned navigation technologies. Plans also call for verification and demonstration as a comprehensive system enabling totally unmanned navigation, advancing technological development further. For example, remote diagnosis technologies developed by MHI Group for large-scale equipment will be integrated to achieve unmanned operation of the ship's propulsion plant.

Going forward, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding will expand on the achievements of its current development program to further enhance ship safety, reduce the crew's workload, and trim operating costs. By resolving such issues, the company will contribute to the ongoing development of marine logistics and ocean transportation. {/mprestriction}

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