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NYK tests remote navigation of tugboat for the second time

NYK tests remote navigation of tugboat for the second time

Japanese shipping major Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and its group companies have completed a second test of the remote navigation of a tugboat.


A manned tugboat equipped with a remote-controlled system was operated remotely from the operating center in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, within Tokyo Bay, approximately 400 kilometers away.

NYK utilized a tugboat owned by Shin-Nippon Kaiyosha Corporation for this research.

In the previous test carried out in January this year the operator used sensors and cameras mounted on the tugboat in the remote operation center to identify surrounding conditions, established a route plan and action plan for avoiding collision route for remote control.

In the experiments, a signal was transmitted to the ship remotely to stop as soon as possible and automatically maneuver at a reduced speed until the next waypoint in order to ensure the safety of the ship or to maintain restricted use of the ship in the event of equipment or ship-shore communication problems.

The purpose of this test, as explained, was to confirm the optimization function of the amount of data communication depending on the available remote control communication bandwidth.

The amount of communication needs to be adjusted automatically to ensure stable remote maneuvering. For that reason, the amount of radar echo data transfer should be controlled according to the available communication bandwidth, so that other data transmissions are not affected, according to NYK.

Using the accumulated knowledge from the two remote navigation tests, NYK and its group firms plan to continue improving the system. Furthermore the companies intend to collaborate further with partners to carry out remote control of large vessels.

In addition, NYK said it will disseminate and develop technologies for autonomous crewed ships and autonomous crewless ships.

Maritime Business World 

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