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Three NYK Group Companies to Participate in Second Stage of the Nippon Foundation’s MEGURI2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Project

Aims for full-scale commercialization of fully autonomous ship technology by 2025

Three NYK Group companies — NYK, Japan Marine Science Inc., and MTI Co., Ltd. — will participate in the Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration of Fully Autonomous Ships under the MEGURI 2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Project* (hereinafter MEGURI2040) administrated by the Nippon Foundation. All three companies are members of the Designing the Future of Fully Autonomous Ships Plus consortium (hereinafter DFFAS+),** which comprises 51 companies based in Japan. This news was announced on July 20 by the Nippon Foundation at a MEGURI2040 seminar*** that provided an overview of the second stage of MEGURI2040 and the project's initiatives.

This program is positioned as the second stage of MEGURI2040, which started in 2020 and aims for full-scale commercialization of fully autonomous ship technology by 2025, which was developed in the "Joint Technological Development Program for Demonstration of Fully Autonomous Ship" (first stage) in cooperation with the Nippon Foundation.

Chairman Sasakawa

Managing Director Unno

Project Director Capt. Kuwahara

First Officer Haruka Nishimura of NYK and Third Officer Tatsunori Kaneko of Kinyu Ship Management Co., Ltd. (currently on secondment to Japan Marine Science Inc.) participated in the panel discussion in the first part of the seminar. Satoru Kuwahara, executive officer at Japan Marine Science Inc., spoke about the second stage in the second part of the seminar.

The press releases of the two companies can be found at the following links.

< Japan Marine Science Inc.>

< MTI Co., Ltd.>

Program Overview

The program will aim for full-scale commercialization of fully autonomous ship technology by 2025, with four goals.

Demonstration test
①In addition to designing next-generation ships that will support the coastal shipping industry in the future, a demonstration of ship-land operations will be conducted to simulate the future coastal shipping industry that will be supported by fully autonomous ships. The demonstration will use four different types of ships (a newly built full package container ship with a fully autonomous operation system; an existing container ship, a RORO cargo ship, and a remote island route ship with a system featuring some autonomous operation) and two Fleet Operation Centers.

②Standardization of developed technologies
Standardization will refine the fully autonomous ship technology developed in the first stage. By standardizing these technologies to international standards, Japan's maritime industry will be strengthened and will lead international competition in fully autonomous ship technology.

③Reinforcement of development process infrastructure
The development-process infrastructure established in the first stage will be reinforced further by upgrading simulation technology, generalizing risk assessments, etc.

④Social Implementation
Social implementation will help commercialize an autonomous navigation system (including a land-based monitoring system) and establish a certification scheme necessary to commercialize the system.
In addition, to improve the environment for social implementation, we will utilize our knowledge of technological development to establish international and domestic rules for fully autonomous ships, examine human resource requirements and training methods to accommodate new working styles, study the use of deregulation and other methods to ensure the continuous commercial use of fully autonomous ships, and examine insurance and freight rates for fully autonomous ships.

Our Approach

In order to solve social issues in Japan's coastal shipping industry, such as reducing labor shortages and workloads, preventing maritime accidents, and maintaining remote island shipping routes, and to support stable domestic logistics and transportation infrastructure, the Nippon Foundation, DFFAS+ participating companies, and domestic and international partner organizations will continue to work together toward the commercialization of fully autonomous ships by 2025.

NYK participated in the first stage of MEGURI2040 as one of the companies in the DFFAS Consortium, the predecessor of DFFAS+, and will continue to support the two companies that are the PMOs (Project Management Offices) leading DFFAS+ by dispatching maritime officers/engineers to Japan Marine Science Inc. and MTI Co., Ltd. to provide shipping expertise.

* 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.

** Companies participating in the DFFAS+ project include Japan Marine Science Inc. (project leader); Akasaka Diesels Limited; IKOUS Corporation; Imoto Lines,Ltd.; Weathernews Inc.; Uyeno Transtech Ltd; EIZO Corporation; SK Winch Co., Ltd.; MTI Co., Ltd.; NX Shipping Co., Ltd.; NTT Communications Corporation; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.; Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.; Kanda Dockyard Co., Ltd.; Kyokuyo Shipyard Corporation; Kinkai Yusen Kaisha Ltd.; Kokusai Ryobi Ferry Co., Ltd.; Sunflame Co., Ltd.; Sanwa Dock Co., Ltd.; JRCS Co. Ltd.; Japan Hamworthy Co., Ltd.; Japan Marine United Corporation; Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.; SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.; Suzuyo Marine Co., Ltd.; Space Compass Corporation; Terasaki Electric Co., Ltd.; Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.; Tokyo Keiki Inc.; TST Corporation.; Mirai R&D (Research & Development); Nakashima Propeller Co., Ltd.; Nabtesco Corporation; Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd.; Japan Radio Co., Ltd.; NYK Line; The Hanshin Diesel Works, Ltd.; BEMAC Corporation; pluszero, Inc.; Fujiwara Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.; Furuno Electric Co., Ltd.; Honda Motor Co., Ltd.; Honda Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.; Marindows Inc.; Marubeni Corporation; Miura Co., Ltd.; Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.; Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited; Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.; Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.; YDK Technologies Co.,Ltd.

*** Presentations on technologies and rules for fully autonomous ships, and a panel discussion on expectations and challenges for the commercialization of fully autonomous ships.
The Nippon Foundation Fully Autonomous Ship Project MEGURI2040 Seminar on Fully Autonomous Ship

NYK promotes activities that contribute to achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through business activities, and our efforts to utilize digital technology and develop technologies to realize fully autonomous ships will contribute to achieving the following goals.


The news on this website is as of the date announced and may change without notice.