• Press Release

NYK to Participate in Crewless Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship Trial Project

-- Efforts toward practical crewless maritime autonomous surface ships by 2025 --

NYK and NYK Group companies Japan Marine Science Inc. (JMS) and MTI Co., Ltd. are participating in the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship Project (hereinafter referred to as the DFFAS Project).* Comprising 22 domestic Japanese companies, the project has been decided to be sponsored by the Joint Technological Development Programme for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships** under the administration of The Nippon Foundation. With the support of the foundation, the DFFAS Project will aim to conduct the world's first successful crewless maritime autonomous surface ship demonstration trial in order to advance the practical use of crewless maritime autonomous surface ships by 2025.

Outline of the DFFAS Project

The DFFAS project aims to realize a domestic coastal shipping business supported by crewless maritime autonomous surface ships. The NYK Group will make full use of the technology and experience so far cultivated in the technological development of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) into this project. The DFFAS project will work toward the standardization of technology and the establishment of systems and infrastructure as well. Moreover, the project plans to carry out a long-distance demonstration trial within FY2021 in congested waters using a domestic coastal containership to realize the world's first crewless maritime autonomous surface ship.

<Conceptual image of the realization of crewless autonomous ships>

Features of DFFAS Project

The DFFAS project has the following characteristics under the concept of "creating the future of crewless maritime autonomous surface ships — a grand design devised by various experts.”

a) A project structure that values the concept of open collaboration among 22 domestic companies that are responsible for creating the future of the Japanese shipping industry, cooperating together with various domestic and foreign experts.

b) Development and demonstration of comprehensive system functions required for crewless maritime autonomous surface ships including remote operation in case of an emergency, automation of berthing/unberthing, operations in accordance with the approved route plan and action plan, and the monitoring of support functions from the fleet operation center (including ship-shore data communication system).

* Companies participating in the DFFAS project include Japan Marine Science Inc. (project leader); MTI Co., Ltd.; IKOUS Corporation; BEMAC Corporation; SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation; TOKYO KEIKI INC.; Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation; NTT DOCOMO, INC., Japan Radio Co., Ltd.; NYK; FURUNO ELECTRIC CO., LTD.; Weathernews Inc.; EIZO Corporation; NTT Communications Corporation; Japan Hamworthy Co., Ltd.; Japan Marine United Corporation; Nabtesco Corporation; Nippon Shipping Co., Ltd.; pluszero Inc.; Honda Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.; Yokogawa Denshikiki Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc.;
The DFFAS project will consider adding new participants as needed.

** A subsidization scheme to cultivate further momentum for technological development in the field of crewless maritime autonomous surface ships, promoting changes in logistics, economies, and social infrastructure in Japan, and supporting such technological development through the success of the world's first crewless autonomous operation trials by domestic coastal vessels.

< Programme logo image>

NYK promotes activities that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through the company’s business activities, and digital-technology use and technology-development efforts to realize crewless maritime autonomous surface ships will contribute to the below goals.

<The NYK Group’s ship automation initiatives utilizing advanced technology>

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