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Friday, June 18, 2021 

Avikus, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group's subsidiary specialising in autonomous navigation technology, has become Korea's first company to succeed in fully autonomous navigation of a ship.

 Avikus successfully completed fully autonomous, unmanned operation of a small vessel for 12 passengers on the 10km-long Pohang Canal, known for complex and challenging navigating environments, as the average width of its waterway is as narrow as 10m and the inner and outer ports are highly crowded.

Deploying autonomous navigation technologies, such as HiNAS (Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System), which automatically recognises objects surrounding the vessel and route to alert the risk of collision based on augmented reality (AR), and HiBAS (Hyundai Intelligent Berthing Assistant System), which provides a full view of the ship when berthing or clearing, Avikus demonstrated fully autonomous navigation of the ship throughout all stages from departure and sailing to return and docking.

Advanced navigation assistance systems, including special cameras and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), a remote sensing technology that uses the pulse from a laser to collect measurements as adopted by a large number of autonomous vehicles, have achieved a higher level of autonomous functioning that allows ships, without the help of seafarers, to cope with various unexpected situations, such as adverse weather conditions, strong currents, and appearance of fishing boats.

Building on this successful demonstration, Avikus plans to expand the application to other types of ships, including passenger and cargo vessels. The company is planning for the first transoceanic voyage of a large merchant ship relying on autonomous navigation technologies in conjunction with a large local shipping company, possibly as early as in the second half of 2021.

"We are poised to become the world's first to commercialise a self-sailing leisure boat next year, based on our fully autonomous navigation technologies successfully demonstrated," said Lim Do-hyeong, CEO Avikus. "Through continued investments in R&D and talent, we will establish a position as a first mover in the autonomous ships market, which is considered the ultimate destination for future maritime mobility technologies."

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