Hyundai partners with ABS for autonomous boat trials

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is set to collaborate with Avikus, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group’s subsidiary specialising in autonomous navigation technologies for ships, on real-life trials of autonomous boat technologies.

Avikus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ABS to obtain the Approval in Principle (AIP) for the implementation of autonomous ship technologies.

With the MOU signed, Avikus starts stage-by-stage demonstration tests for its various solutions including Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System (HiNAS): Hyundai Intelligence Berthing Assistance System (HiBAS): and Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System 2.0 (HiNAS2.0), in compliance with the ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote Control Functions published in July 2021.

Through the tests, Avikus will be capable of obtaining each certificate by stage for its autonomous vessel technologies, while ABS will review the design, regulate testing procedures and verify the implementation for each stage based on the actual operation data of Avikus. From trials of the autonomous technologies in real-life conditions, the joint efforts from the two companies will be an important step in making maritime autonomous operations a practical reality. Lessons learnt from this collaboration will also contribute to the development and improvement of standards and regulations for autonomous technology and operations, says Hyundai.

As a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), ABS is a maritime classification society that identifies technological suitability and selects the relevant criteria for cutting-edge maritime technology and offshore structures while promoting stable maritime industry development.

After the successful demonstration of the full autonomous cruising in Korea in June 2021, Avikus plans to jointly demonstrate the autonomous shipping technology with ABS for a transoceanic voyage of a large-scale commercial vessel which is currently under development.

According to Acute Market Reports, a global market research firm, the autonomous vessel and related material and equipment markets are expected to grow by 12.6 per cent annually and reach USD$235.7 billion in its market size by 2028.

“The agreement with ABS holds a great significance as it promotes the technology standardisation through the stage-by-stage certification of Avikus’ proprietary technologies. With these commitments, we will contribute to expanding the autonomous vessel market and proactively preoccupy the related markets,” Avikus CEO Lim says.

“Autonomous vessels will have a significant role to play in the future of maritime transportation but they will need to be at least as safe as existing vessels. It will take extensive research and development activity, teamwork and sharing of expertise among the leading maritime players to get us there. That’s why this agreement is a game changer, as it unites ABS’ insight with HHI’s expertise to develop practical applications of the technology,” comments John McDonald, ABS executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Avikus introduced a leisure boat equipped with the full autonomous navigation technology at CES 2022 and presented a future vision of the maritime mobility sector centring on autonomous vessel technology through simulated navigation applying the virtual reality technology.

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