The gas tanker Prism Courage is the first ship in the world to have crossed an ocean without a crew. The tanker sailed from Mexico to South Korea within 33 days. The Hyundai subsidiary In Avikus has the ship developed.
nobody on board; and yet the Prism Courage managed to sail from Mexico to South Korea all by herself. This makes her the first merchant ship in the world to independently cross an ocean.
The gas tanker was developed by the Hyundai subsidiary Avikus. Together with the Korean company SK Shipping the gas tanker was sent on its journey.
And it began on May 1, 2022 on the south coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Within 33 days, the autonomously steered ship crossed the Panama Canal and finally reached the South Korean port of Boryeong. The gas tanker thus covered a distance of around 20,000 kilometers without a crew.
The ship autonomously avoided over 100 collisions
However, the ship did not set off without navigation. The system developed by Avikus took over the control HiNAS 2.0 (Hyundai Intelligent Navigation Assistant System).
HiNAS is a computer vision and AI-based system. Using AR images, it scans the environment and provides important information about weather conditions. Besides, it also calculates the height of the waves. If the system detects other ships in the vicinity, it in turn issues corresponding steering commands in real time.
During her voyage across the ocean, the Prism Courage avoided collision with other ships over 100 times. The merchant ship was American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) supervised.
Prism Courage: AI system is better than a human
However, HiNAS 2.0 did not only help the Prism Courage in terms of navigation. With the help of the AI system, the autonomous ship also selected the best routes for the journey. This enabled the gas tanker to increase fuel efficiency by seven percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around five percent.
With the ship’s successful autonomous journey across the ocean, the Prism Courage showed its developers that the navigation system works. Avikus now plans to commercialize HiNAS 2.0 later this year. The technology is intended to help in various areas of maritime mobility.
On the one hand, autonomously navigating ships can reduce the prevailing labor shortage in the maritime transport industry. On the other hand, the developers are sure that the AI system can improve safety in shipping because it eliminates the possibility of human error.
In the future, the technology should not only be available to large merchant ships. Small leisure boats are also to be equipped with the navigation system.