2019: NYK intends to test autonomous container ship in the Pacific ocean


JAPANESE shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and its container shipping line subsidiary NYK Line plan to put to test autonomous vessel technology that could involve the remote-controlled steering of a large box ship between Japan and North America.

NYK said that it has been working since 2016 on studying crash avoidance techniques for autonomous ships with radar manufacturer Furuno Electric Co and communication equipment-makers Japan Radio Co and Tokyo Keiki Inc.


NYK is at least the third Japanese company to begin working on self-driving container ships, following "K" Line and MOL. In late May, MOL and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuild Co announced they're developing a joint technological concept for autonomous ocean transport system via a grant through the Japanese government, reported American Shipper.

Furthermore, Norwegian firm Yara International says that it's planning to build a US$12 million, battery-powered 100-120 TEU containership to move containers to the ports of Brevik and Larvik. A small crew would initially be onboard to operate the ship, but the vessel would be fully autonomous by 2019 or 2020.


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