HD The Prism Courage, a 122,000-tonne ultra-large natural gas tanker managed by Hyundai’s subsidiary Avikus, has become the first large ship to travel over 10,000 kilometers (6,210 miles) under autonomous control.

It isn’t new to have a ship that can sail by itself. Even the smallest vessel can be fitted with an autonomous pilot, and it’s not uncommon to hear of freighters arriving in port with no one on board after their personnel had abandoned them early. In reality, if the sails are properly set, and the tiller is fastened, even a sailing craft with no electronics on board may maintain a steady course.

However, this is not the same as an autonomous ship conducting a passage. An automatic pilot keeps a ship on course and can be configured to handle situations like GPS waypoints and currents. Still, an autonomous ship must be able to manage a wide range of sensor readings and not only decide how to respond to them but do so per road and maritime law.

Autonomous Navigation

The Panama-flagged Prism Courage is the result of this. After a 33-day cruise, the ship departed Freeport, Texas, went through the Panama Canal, and crossed the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Chungcheong Province, Korea.

The ship was under the direction of the autonomous navigation system HiNAS 2.0 for the last part of the cruise, which steered it and sought out the best routes and speeds based on Hyundai Global Service’s Integrated Smartship Solution (ISS) artificial intelligence. It allowed for navigation, weather and wave height adjustment, and legally avoiding passing ships by steering in real-time.

The HiNAS 2.0 technology resulted in a 7% gain in fuel economy and a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It was also capable of locating and avoiding other ships over 100 times. The Prism Courage was monitored by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) during the voyage to ensure its safety and stability.

After official certification, the intention is to have the HiNAS 2.0 ready for marketing by next year.

“Avikus’ autonomous navigation technology was beneficial in this ocean-crossing test, notably for maintaining navigation routes, autonomously shifting courses, and avoiding close ships, which improved ship crews’ job conveniences,” stated Prism Courage Captain Young-hoon Koh.

The market for autonomous ships is predicted to reach 236 billion USD by 2028, owing to the numerous advantages of automated vessels.

Autonomous Trucks

Uber recently announced a partnership with Waymo, financed by Alphabet, to launch fully autonomous trucks within the next several years. In a logistics business thirsty for innovation, the technology might alleviate staff shortages, cut pollution, and increase safety.

Logistics companies and merchants will buy the trucks and pay a per-mile cost under their business plan.

Experts predict that autonomous trucks will be the first self-driving vehicles to produce significant money despite self-driving taxis’ buzz. It is because their driving environments are simpler.

According to logistics businesses, the trucks will take over repetitive long-haul routes, while human drivers will handle shorter, more intricate routes that the technology cannot handle. Driver expenditures, which account for more than 40% of per-mile costs, will be cut in half by autonomous vehicles. And, given that long-haul truckers have a 94 percent turnover rate, it could help address the industry’s most flawed drawback.

Analysts estimate that the global autonomous trucking business will be worth 167 billion USD by 2035, owing to rising demand.

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