JAPANESE shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha and its container shipping line subsidiary NYK Line plan to put to test autonomous vessel technology that could involve the remote-controlled steering of a large box ship between Japan and North America.
A crew would be on standby as a containership self-sails across the Pacific Ocean sometime in 2019, according to a report from Bloomberg Technology.
NYK said that it has been working since 2016 on studying crash avoidance techniques for autonomous ships with radar manufacturer Furuno Electric Co and communication equipment-makers Japan Radio Co and Tokyo Keiki Inc, according to Bloomberg.
NYK is at least the third Japanese company to begin working on self-driving container ships, following "K" Line and MOL. In late May, MOL and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuild Co announced they're developing a joint technological concept for autonomous ocean transport system via a grant through the Japanese government, reported American Shipper.
Furthermore, Norwegian firm Yara International says that it's planning to build a US$12 million, battery-powered 100-120 TEU containership to move containers to the ports of Brevik and Larvik. A small crew would initially be onboard to operate the ship, but the vessel would be fully autonomous by 2019 or 2020.