MITSUI OSK Lines and various partners have announced the success of a demonstration test (from March to April 2021) of their jointly developed auto berthing and un-berthing system at an actual pier in Oarai Port, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
The demonstration used a large-size car ferry Sunflower Shiretoko, owned by MOL Ferry.
The demonstration test is a world-first from two perspectives: use of a large car ferry (gross tonnage: 11,410 tonnes) on one of its service routes; and conducting the test using an actual pier.
The project team developed the ship operation plan, operation guide, criteria for cancelling the test, and so on, and used simulations to conduct a thorough safety assessment under various conditions.
In addition, the team conducted the demonstration test and verifying safety on the vessel in service by autonomously berthing and un-berthing at a virtual pier projected on the water.
Leveraging the results of this demonstration test, the project team will conduct demonstration tests of auto berthing and un-berthing at actual berths with other ship types, with the aim of developing a highly versatile technology.
A video of the demonstration test can be viewed here.