The NYK Group, along with its subsidiaries, has received recognition for its efforts in promoting autonomous ships at the fifth Japan Open Innovation Prize ceremony.
The ceremony was held by the Cabinet Office of Japan, and the companies were awarded the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Award.
The group, which comprises Japan Marine Science Inc., MTI Co. Ltd., and Kinkai Yusen Kaisha Ltd., is working to address social issues such as labour shortages and maritime accidents in the shipping industry.
The NYK Group is a part of the Joint Technological Development Programme for the Demonstration of Fully Autonomous Ships under the MEGURI 2040 project.
This project is aimed at the social implementation of fully autonomous ships, and it is administered by the Nippon Foundation as part of the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ships Consortium, which comprises 30 companies in Japan.
The consortium successfully conducted a trial that simulated the actual operation of a fully autonomous ship between Tokyo Bay and Ise Bay from 26 February to 1 March.
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“Automated and unmanned ship technologies can help to solve various social issues, such as resolving labour shortages and reducing the labour burden in the shipping industry, preventing maritime accidents, and maintaining remote island shipping routes,” reads NYK’s recent statement.
“The four NYK Group companies will continue to collaborate with relevant parties and work toward the social implementation of this technology.”
Last month, NYK and Ghelia, an artificial intelligence (AI) start-up financed by Sony, formed a capital alliance.
The two companies will now work together on research and development for autonomous ships, avoidance navigation, and other technologies.