Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Maritime Propulsion

November 11, 2020

‘ROBOSHIP’ Takes to the Water off Japan

Tokyo Cruise Ship's Urban Launch (Photo: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.)

As maritime barrels toward an autonomous future, the ROBOSHIP Joint Value Creation Project is one that is making waves, literally and figuratively, as a proof of concept (PoC) test using two actual surface vessels was jointly conducted on November 11.

This PoC test held in the sea off Toyosu in Tokyo is using a passenger vessel owned by Tokyo Cruise Ship Co., Ltd., and is intended to demonstrate the technologies with the aim of supporting the development and widespread adoption of a navigational support system for coastal vessels.

Putting ROBOSHIP to the Test
The PoC was led by e5 Lab Inc., a firm jointly established in 2019 by a group of shipping companies and a trading company to develop electric ships and digitization technologies. 

The project is a collaborative effort between e5 Lab, 22 companies and a ship classification society, including firms outside the shipbuilding and marine transport field, as a cooperative platform to create value and turn challenges into opportunities by addressing issues facing the ocean shipping industry. Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, is a shipbuilder with a vested interest in the ROBOSHIP project, providing maritime-related engineering services, support for marine vessel remote control/autonomous navigation, and system integration for the vessel propulsion units. 

As part of the test, a navigation support system called SUPERBRIDGE-X, with functions including route planning, course control, vessel speed control, and collision avoidance, has been installed in Urban Launch, a passenger vessel operated by Tokyo Cruise Ship Co., Ltd. to conduct cruises in Tokyo Bay and other areas. In addition, a remotely operated unmanned surface vessel developed by MHI has also been made available, and the two vessels used to demonstrate collision avoidance.

Tokyo Cruise Ship's Urban Launch. (Photo:  Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.)