Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” LINE) has been participated in the Joint Technological
Development Program for the Demonstration test of Fully Autonomous Ships under the
MEGURI 2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Project* (MEGURI2040) administrated by the Nippon
In this time, we succeeded the sea demonstration test with PoC** stage of autonomous
navigation system consisting of single function on board ship aiming to social
implementation of fully autonomous ship, and we implemented on a round-trip route of
approximately 1,600 km between Hitachi Port and Kushiro Port, which is the existing RORO
cargo ship service route.
The autonomous navigation system was installed on the 11,413 gross-ton large RORO
cargo ship "HOKUREN MARU No. 2" operated by KAWASAKI KINKAI KISEN KAISHA, Ltd.(
Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen) for a total of 3 voyages starting on October 1, 2023***.
We confirmed that recognition, analysis, and decision making by the autonomous navigation
system are executed with a high degree of accuracy in coastal navigation. In the
experimental route, the autonomous navigation system was used to navigate while
maintaining the normal crew navigation tasks, and in situations where avoidance was
necessary, the autonomous navigation system proposed avoidance routes and controlled
steering to safely avoid other vessels. The autonomous navigation system has achieved an
average system operation rate of approximately 96% in the sea area set as ODD****.
Our approach in PoC
We led the implementation of the sea demonstration test for the retrofit of an onboard system,
the autonomous navigation system (Target Detection, Planning, Actuation), which is being
developed for social implementation in the second stage of MEGURI2040. During the test
voyages, we provided expertise as maritime professionals.
In the future, we will utilize the data obtained from the sea demonstration tests to further enhance
the autonomous navigation system, incorporating our expertise in safe operations, which is one
of our strengths.
Our approach to 2025
We will continue to collaborate with Japan Radio Co., Ltd., YDK Technologies Co., Ltd., and
Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen to further develop a comprehensive system that contributes to the
improvement of fully autonomous ships technology. We will continue to enhance the onboard
system based on the research and development achievements thus far and develop an
automatic vessel speed control system in preparation for the 2025 sea demonstration test. Our
goal is to create an autonomous navigation system with high versatility that can be implemented
in various types of vessels.
Furthermore, we will work on the development of off board system and ship-to-shore
communication systems, aiming to establish continuous monitoring of vessel conditions from
shore and provide navigational assistance. We will focus on the development and demonstration
of ship-to-shore coordination technology.
* A subsidization scheme to cultivate further momentum for technological development in the
field of fully autonomous ships, promoting changes in logistics, economies, and social
infrastructure in Japan, and supporting such technological development through the success of
the world's first fully autonomous operation trials by domestic coastal vessels. We are
participating as a member of the Designing the Future of Fully Autonomous Ships Plus