LNG carrier Prism Courage completed a trans-Pacific voyage relying on autonomous navigation technology.

Hyundai subsidiary Avikus, together with SK Shipping, announced the completion of the voyage on Thursday (2 June).

Prism Courage is equipped with Avikus’ autonomous navigation system called HiNAS 2.0, and the company claims this is the first case of a vessel using autonomous navigation technology on a transoceanic voyage.

The vessel departed from Freeport on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on 1 May. It passed through the Panama Canal and arrived at the Boryeong LNG Terminal in South Chungcheong Province in South Korea after 33 days. The vessel sailed half of roughly 20,000 kilometres in total distance with the autonomous navigation technology HiNAS 2.0.

The HiNAS 2.0 system creates optimal routes and speeds based on Hyundai Global Service’s Integrated Smartship Solution (ISS). According to the company, its artificial intelligence recognises the surrounding environment, such as weather and wave heights, and nearby ships, and then controls the vessel’s steering commands in real time. The technology can control and operate the ship as well as perform recognition and judgment functions.


In this ocean crossing, Prism Courage increased fuel efficiency by around 7% while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 5%, the company said. Also, the system accurately recognised nearby ships during operation to avoid collision more than 100 times.

This voyage was conducted under real-time monitoring of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) to verify the performance and stability of the technology. Avikus said it plans to commercialise HiNAS 2.0 within this year after receiving a certification from ABS for the results of this self-propelled ocean crossing.

Captain Young-hoon Koh of Prism Courage said: “Avikus’ autonomous navigation technology was greatly helpful in this ocean-crossing test especially for maintaining navigating routes, autonomously changing directions, and avoiding nearby ships, which were all increasing ship crews’ work conveniences.”

Avikus CEO Do-hyeong Lim said: “It is meaningful that we have successfully tested the Level 2 system to operate a vessel beyond the Level 1 technology providing optimal routes.

“We will lead innovation by upgrading autonomous navigation solutions not only for large merchant ships but also for small leisure boats,” he said.