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HHI Group Accelerates Advent of Autonomous Shipping Era

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group has successfully applied a key self-sailing technology to a large vessel, spurring the efforts to sophisticate smartships.
The group said on April 9 that it successfully equipped SK Shipping’s 250,000-ton bulk carrier with its state-of-the-art HiNAS (Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System). Having completed the verification of HiNAS through a series of test runs, HHI Group became the world’s first to apply a core technology for autonomous sailing to a large ship already in service.

Co-developed by HHI Group and the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), HiNAS automatically recognizes surrounding vessels through camera analysis via artificial intelligence (AI) to determine and alert the risk of collision based on augmented reality (AR). Particularly noteworthy about this advanced navigation support system is that even when visibility is limited at night or by sea fog, it can analyze and provide comprehensive information, such as the location and speed of obstacles, using infrared cameras.

This latest collision-avoiding technology, adding to the group’s existing set of smartship technologies, is accelerating HHI Group’s endeavors to take the lead in the autonomous ships market. Back in 2017, the group launched its INTEGRICT-Smartship Solution (ISS), which collects and analyzes real-time information on vessel navigation for efficient energy management and route optimization. Since then, the group has won orders for ISS to be installed on about 150 ships.

Further, the group has recently completed the development of HiBAS (Hyundai Intelligent Berthing Assistant System), which provides a full view of the ship when berthing or clearing.

“Because ship accidents typically lead to major damages, there is no way to overstate the importance of safety in sailing,” said an official of SK Shipping. “We expect this latest technology assisting autonomous operation of ships will help improve the economics and safety of our ships, enabling us to provide more stable transportation services.”

According to Acute Market Reports, a global market research service provider, the market for autonomous ships and related equipment is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 12.8% during the forecast period from 2017 to 2025, reaching USD 155 billion by 2025.

“Self-sailing vessels are ships of the future equipped with a wide array of the fourth industrial revolution technologies, such as IoT, big data and AI,” said an official of HHI Group. “By developing advanced technologies, we will accelerate the advent of the autonomous shipping era and secure a leadership position in this fast-growing market.”