The Prism Courage LNG Tanker relied on the Avikus HiNAS 2.0 system to autonomously navigate from Freeport (Gulf of Mexico) to the Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Chungcheong Province in Korea in 33 days. (Image credit: PR News Wire)
A self-steering ship, the Prism Courage LNG tanker, successfully completed its autonomous transoceanic navigation from Freeport in the Gulf of Mexico to the Boryeong terminal in South Chungcheong Province in Korea after 33 days. The vessel is equipped with Avikus' (Hyundai spin-off company) HiNAS 2.0 Level 2 autonomous AI navigation system that creates optimal routes and speeds based on data from Hyundai Global Service's ISS (Integrated Smartship Solution). The AI recognizes the surrounding environment, weather, wave heights, and nearby ships and then controls the vessel's steering commands in real-time. The Level 2 autonomous navigation technology can control and operate the ship in addition to the Level 1 autonomous navigation functions of recognition and judgment.
The voyage was carried out under the watchful eyes of the ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) and the KR (Korea Register of Shipping) while the vessel operated autonomously using optimal routes, which increased the fuel efficiency by around 7% while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 5%. It also accurately tracked the locations of nearby ships to avoid collisions over 100 times during its voyage. "Avikus' autonomous navigation technology was greatly helpful in this ocean-crossing test, especially for maintaining navigating routes, autonomously changing directions, and avoiding nearby ships, which were all increasing ship crews' work conveniences," stated Captain Young-hoon Koh of the Prism Courage.
Although the HiNAS 2.0 system successfully completed its journey, it only navigated the second leg of the cruise (12,427 nautical miles), as the first leg was still under the control of its human crew. That said, Avikus plans to commercialize the HiNAS 2.0 AI navigation system by the end of the year (2022). Although complete autonomous shipping is still in development, the company hopes its system will help alleviate crew shortages, improve safety and reduce pollution.