The NYK Group Companies to Participate in Demonstration Project to Remotely Operate a Ship

– Japan’s First Demonstration Project for Autonomous Ships –

MTI, NYK, Keihin Dock Co. Ltd., and Japan Marine Science Inc. (JMS) have been selected* by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT) to participate in a demonstration project utilizing ship maneuvering support functions and remote control. By 2025, Japan is seeking to begin demonstrations for the practical implementation of autonomous ships.

About the NYK Group’s Initiatives

With the aim to pursue efficient, safe operations and reduce crew workload, MTI, NYK and JMS have been using advanced technology to develop an autonomous ship, including a study on collision risk judgement and the autonomous operation of vessels, a study that is being conducted together with three nautical instrument manufacturers in Japan and has been selected for sponsorship by MLIT. The NYK Group applied to participate in MLIT’s new project because one of the NYK Group’s studies has entered the demonstration stage prior to implementation.

About the Demonstration

To date, the NYK Group has been working with nautical instrument manufacturers and partners to develop a manned remotely controlled system that can support the crew. Such a system would collect, integrate, and analyze information around the ship, prepare an action plan, and after the approval of operators at remote locations or on board, take action in accordance with the plan. This demonstration aims to make use of this system in an actual situation.

After collecting data and developing a system using domestic coastal ships and tugboats,** a demonstration test will be carried out on a tugboat in the latter half of 2019.

In its new medium-term management plan “Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green” released in March, NYK announced a strategy to achieve sustainable growth. The NYK Group will continue to boost digitalization by collaborating with various partners and making use of the group’s operational expertise and accumulated data to create new value.


* Companies selected to participate in the demonstration project for remotely controlled ship include MTI, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK), Port and Airport Research Institute, Ikous Corporation, NYK, Keihin Dock Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Niigata Power Systems Co. Ltd., Uzushio Electric Co. Ltd., SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, Tokyo Keiki Inc., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, Inc., Japan Radio Co. Ltd., Furuno Electric Co. Ltd., and Japan Marine Science Inc.

** Tugboat
A tugboat operated by Wing Maritime Service Corporation (WMS), an NYK Group company, will be used for this demonstration project.