Autonomous shipping alliance launched


The Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance has formed to design and deliver an unmanned cargo ship with the aim of advancing prospects for autonomous shipping.

The group, launched in Shanghai, brings together industry partners, including class organisations, shipyards, equipment manufacturers and designers, to further independent decision-making, autonomous navigation, environmental perception and remote control technology.

“Increased digitization, advanced technologies and new levels of connectivity are changing the way the maritime industry operates,” said Eric Kleess, greater China division president of US-headquartered marine classification society ABS, one of nine Alliance members.

“In the coming years, we will see significant changes in the way ships are designed and built, with a strong drive to develop autonomous vessels especially in China. As a key member of this alliance, ABS is aligned closely with industry to support safer and more sustainable maritime operations.”

The Alliance, officially launched at the end of June, expects to deliver the unmanned cargo ship by October 2021.

Chaired by HNA Technology Group, the Alliance also includes CCS, China Ship Research & Development Institute, Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group), Marine Design Research Institute of China (MARIC), Rolls-Royce, and Wartsila.

“Through this collaborative effort, we will apply the latest technologies to develop a new autonomous ship concept,” stated HNA Technology Group vice chairman, Li Weijian. “The newly formed alliance is advancing new innovations in ship design and operations, and also working to promote the safe adoption of these assets in the market.”