HD Hyundai’s subsidiary Avikus has announced that the Prism Courage, a 122,000 tonne ultra-large natural gas tanker is the first large ship to make an ocean passage of over 10,000 km (6,210 miles) under autonomous control.
The Prism Courage left Freeport, Texas on May 1, 2022, then passed through the Panama Canal and crossed the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Chungcheong Province, Korea, after a voyage of 33 days.
The vessel is equipped with HiNAS 2.0, Avikus’ Level 2 autonomous navigation solution – besides accurate steering, HiNAS 2.0 provided an increase in fuel efficiency of 7% and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 5% during the latter half of the journey, when the vessel was under system control.
This voyage was conducted under real-time monitoring of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) to verify the performance and stability of the technology.
A small ship can sail itself and keep a steady course, but for a large, autonomous ship to do so is an innovative feat. Autonomous navigation technology is rightfully drawing attention for its ability to solve workforce shortages in the maritime transportation industry for essential cargo, reduce pollutants, and improve safety by completely removing the possibility of human errors.
Avikus’ autonomous navigation technology was “greatly helpful” in this ocean voyage – the company plans to commercialise HiNAS 2.0 within this year after receiving a certification from ABS for the results of this self-propelled ocean crossing.