HD Hyundai subsidiary Avikus has successfully conducted the transoceanic voyage of a 180,000m2 ultra-large liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier called Prism Courage, using autonomous navigation technologies.

Claimed to be a world first, the voyage was completed by Avikus in collaboration with SK Shipping.

Featuring Avikus’ level two autonomous navigation solution called HiNAS 2.0, the vessel reached the Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Chungcheong Province in Korea after 33 days of departing from the Freeport on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The vessel, which cruised through the Panama Canal, travelled half of 20,000km in total distance with the autonomous navigation technology.

Based on Hyundai Global Service’s Integrated Smartship Solution (ISS), the HiNAS 2.0 navigation system is said to support optimal routes and speeds.

The surrounding environment such as weather and wave heights in nearby ships will be detected by the system’s artificial intelligence, thereby helping control the vessel’s steering commands in real-time.

Besides performing level one recognition and judgment functions, the level two autonomous navigation technology can control and operate the ship.

Prism Courage’s fuel efficiency is said to increase by nearly 7% and its greenhouse gas emissions lower by around 5% due to autonomous operations on the optimal routes.

For the verification of the performance and stability of the technology, the voyage was carried out under real-time monitoring of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR).

Upon securing a certification from ABS for the results of the self-propelled ocean crossing, Avikus intends to commercialise the HiNAS 2.0 technology this year.

Avikus CEO Do-hyeong Lim said: “It is meaningful that we have successfully tested the Level 2 system to operate a vessel beyond the Level 1 technology providing optimal routes.”