HD Hyundai’s intermediate holding firm Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for the development of automation solutions for unmanned ships.

These ships will be able to navigate and conduct safety diagnoses without human assistance.

The entities will develop and demonstrate automated machinery as well as integrated safety control systems in autonomous ships.

KSOE Advanced Research Centre head and senior executive vice-president Sungjoon Kim said: “We plan to cooperate with ABS on the AI-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel propulsion system (Hi-GAS+) demonstration project that won the CES 2023 Innovation Award.

“Through the MoU, we hope to further extend our lead in unmanned technology that enables autonomous navigation and self-diagnosis of equipment and safety.”

For the first time, the partnership aims to demonstrate the onboard integrated safety control system (HiCAMS) and machinery automation system (HiCBM) of KSOE on actual ships across the world by 2024.

HiCBM and HiCAMS are artificial intelligence (AI) based systems that enable ships to self-diagnose the condition of machinery and equipment, such as engines and generators, within the ship.

They can also help detect and respond to unexpected scenarios, such as fires.

Last September, KSOE secured approval in principle (AIP) from ABS for these systems.

Last June, HD Hyundai’s subsidiary Avikus equipped a large merchant ship with the company’s autonomous navigation system.

ABS global engineering and technology senior vice-president Patrick Ryan said: “ABS is leading the industry in supporting autonomous projects and assisting pioneers like HD Hyundai and KSOE.

“Autonomous technologies that are fully integrated within the broader vessel infrastructure have the potential to increase safety by reducing human error.”