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ABS joins industry alliance to advance autonomous shipping

US-based classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has joined the Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance, a group of class organisations, shipyards, equipment manufacturers and designers that aims to collaboratively advance and promote autonomous shipping operations.

Launched in Shanghai in June, the Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance, chaired by the Chinese holding company HNA Technology Group Co, was formed with nine members, including CCS, China Ship Research & Development Institute, Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Marine Design Research Institute of China (MARIC), Rolls-Royce, and Wartsila.

 The alliance has set the goal of delivering an unmanned cargo ship by October 2021.

This launch is a response to the market wherein more shipping companies have begun to evince interest in autonomous technologies for application in their businesses.

 “Increased digitization, advanced technologies and new levels of connectivity are changing the way the maritime industry operates,” says ABS Greater China Division President Eric Kleess. “In the coming years, we will see significant changes in the way ships are designed and built, with a strong drive to develop autonomous vessels especially in China. As a key member of this alliance, ABS is aligned closely with industry to support safer and more sustainable maritime operations. ”

ABS said the design of the unmanned vessel will integrate features of independent decision-making, autonomous navigation, environmental perception and remote control.

“Through this collaborative effort, we will apply the latest technologies to develop a new autonomous ship concept,” says HNA Technology Group Vice Chairman Li Weijian. “The newly formed alliance is advancing new innovations in ship design and operations, and also working to promote the safe adoption of these assets in the market.”


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