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Samsung Heavy test-runs autonomous ship over 500 miles

By Kim Yoon-kyoung & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
An autonomous vessel of Samsung Heavy Industries cruises along the South Korean coastline. Photo courtesy of Samsung Heavy Industries
An autonomous vessel of Samsung Heavy Industries cruises along the South Korean coastline. Photo courtesy of Samsung Heavy Industries

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries announced a successful test run of an autonomous ship for more than 500 nautical miles in coastal waters.

The shipbuilder collaborated with Mokpo National Maritime University to operate the university's training vessel for 512 nautical miles along the country's coastline.

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Samsung Heavy said Thursday its self-driving system, named SAS, helped the 9,200-ton Segero to avoid trouble in the ocean, including other ships, during its voyage from Nov. 15 to 18.

"The success of this trial run confirms that the SAS can operate stably in very complex maritime situations," Samsung Heavy Vice President Kim Hyun-jo said in a statement.

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"As a leader in autonomous systems, we will do our best to innovate in said technology and also prepare the needed safety regulations and systems."

Various South Korean shipyards have been working to develop unmanned vessels.

Last week, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Maritime Engineering announced it had tested an autonomous navigation system using a small boat in Korean waters.

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Earlier this year, Hyundai Heavy Industries also announced that it planned to introduce a remote-controlled vessel by 2025 and a fully autonomous ship by 2030.

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The global shipbuilders and related companies are betting on self-driving technologies in such areas as sensors, and wireless monitoring.

For example, Toshiba, Kongsberg, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and BAE Systems have channeled their resources to stay relevant in the segment.

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"Autonomous driving technology will be commercialized at sea faster than on land or in the air because of the strong demand for maritime logistics," Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.

"As a result, global shipyards are doing all that they can to beat the competition with the relevant technology," he said.

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