Classification society Korean Register (KR) has agreed to collaborate with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and KLCSM on autonomous navigation systems for ships.

The three parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct joint research on the application of autonomous navigation systems for mid-sized to large-sized vessels.

As part of the agreement, KLCSM’s fleet of operating ships will be equipped with SHI’s autonomous navigation system, called Samsung Autonomous Ship (SAS), for risk assessments.

The system will also support the development and certification of cybersecurity systems, as well as provide a review of the conformity of different agreements and standards for future approval of ship registries.

Additionally, KR, SHI and KLCSM agreed to work together to commercialise autonomous navigation systems through the Marine Equipment Directive (MED) certification of SHI’s Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) modules.

KR Plan Approval Center head Yeon Kyujin said: “I am quite confident that our strong collaboration will accelerate the commercialisation of autonomous ship equipment and technology, and enhance the quality and competitiveness of the equipment by establishing an actual ship-based autonomous operating system.”

KLCSM Corporation Managing Department director Kwon O-gil said: “With this latest joint cooperation, more autonomous navigation systems will be successfully applied to ships, which will further increase the efficiency of ship management.

“We also expect to improve vessel safety and improve the environment of ship operations amid a current shortage of sailors.”

Founded in 1960, KR offers verification and certification services for ships and other maritime structures. It has been a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) since 1988.

Recently, KR granted approval in principle (AIP) for a methanol dual-fuel very large crude oil carrier (VLCC).