ABS, Partners to Advance Autonomous Shipping

Houston-based classification society ABS has joined the Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance to work with industry partners, including class organizations, shipyards, equipment manufacturers and designers to advance autonomous shipping.

The design will integrate features of independent decision-making, autonomous navigation, environmental perception and remote control.

“Increased digitization, advanced technologies and new levels of connectivity are changing the way the maritime industry operates,” Eric Kleess, ABS Greater China Division President, said.

“In the coming years, we will see significant changes in the way ships are designed and built, with a strong drive to develop autonomous vessels especially in China. As a key member of this alliance, ABS is aligned closely with industry to support safer and more sustainable maritime operations,” Kleess added.

The Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance, chaired by HNA Technology Group Co, Ltd., was formed with nine members, including ABS, CCS, China Ship Research & Development Institute, Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute, Ltd, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd, Marine Design Research Institute of China (MARIC), Rolls-Royce, and Wartsila.

The alliance officially launched at the end of June and expects to deliver the unmanned cargo ship by October 2021.

“Through this collaborative effort, we will apply the latest technologies to develop a new autonomous ship concept,” Li Weijian, HNA Technology Group Vice Chairman, said.

“The newly formed alliance is advancing new innovations in ship design and operations, and also working to promote the safe adoption of these assets in the market,” Weijian informed.

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