LR plans ocean-going autonomous navigation system first

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

11 April 2019


At Singapore Maritime this week, classification society LR has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in collaboration with ST Engineering Electronics and Mitsui.

The partners will collaborate on the ‘Development of Ocean-going Autonomous Navigation System on a Marine Asset’, the MoU forms the foundation of the MPA-funded ‘World’s Largest Ocean-Going Autonomous Vessel Programme’, which was also announced today.

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“LR’s involvement in this project builds on the capability and experience already gained from our partnership in other industry-leading and world first autonomous projects,” said Andy McKeran, LR Commercial Director Marine & Offshore. “However, this project, a world first for the deployment of autonomous navigational technology to an ocean-going vessel for commercial operations, pushes the boundaries of autonomous technology and moves the industry towards deployment of autonomous navigation systems onboard vessels for enhanced performance and critically, safety.”

“Increasing interest in maritime autonomy and remote access/control technologies is a specific example of larger technological changes we are currently seeing in the maritime industry. Essential to the successful and safe adoption of these technologies is that robust use cases are established, for example to improve navigational safety, supply chain efficiency or operational costs of marine assets. Autonomous systems will also provide opportunities for skilled seafarers to focus on what they do best, and the safe and sustainable integration of autonomous systems relies on the appropriate engagement with seafaring professionals.”

He continued, “Working with STEE, who have already developed and proven this capability and are now looking to work to scale in the commercial marine market, is what sets this project apart; STEE provide world-class technical expertise, technology and advanced learnings on autonomous systems in the marine environment. We will support with expertise on assurance, certification and regulation for the application of autonomy in the maritime environment as well as approval of systems where appropriate.”