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Thursday, May 21, 2020 

NYK and its group companies MTI, Keihin Dock, and Japan Marine Science (JMS) have successfully tested the remote navigation of a tug as a part of the Japanese government’s Sea Trial Project on Remote Control Navigation.

In Tokyo Bay, a tug equipped with a manned remotely controlled system was operated remotely from an operation centre in the city of Nishinomiya in Hyogo prefecture about 400km away. The tug was navigated over a distance of about 12 km in Tokyo Bay between an area off Honmoku and an area off the port of Yokosuka.

The operator in the remote operation centre was able to use sensors and cameras fitted to the tug to recognise surrounding conditions and create a route plan and action plan (collision avoidance route plan). The operator shared the plans with the tug captain, who then approved them. The remotely navigated vessel proceeded and operated in accordance with the approved route plan and action plan, Data recorded were confirmed and evaluated.

In the future, NYK and its group companies will work to overcome ship-to-shore communication issues that were revealed during this experiment, to further improve the system, and aim to start remote navigation tests using domestic coastal ships within 2020. Work will continue to develop technology for large vessels.

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