For the first time, a large vessel is to cross an ocean autonomously. The giant, developed by Hyundai, could usher in a new era of seafaring.
The vessel with which Do-hyeong Lim wants to make history is a giant: 300 metres long, 50 metres wide, with space for 180,000 cubic metres of liquid gas.
It is to be launched in the summer and cross one of the great oceans, either the Atlantic or the Pacific. The freighter is currently being built in a shipyard in South Korea. If it masters the task ahead of it, it may usher in a new era of seafaring.
Do-hyeong Lim is the head of Avikus, a subsidiary of the South Korean company Hyundai Heavy Industries. Avikus is hardly known in Europe and America, but Lim and his engineers could change the way freight is transported across our oceans. "What's true on the road is also true on the water," Lim tells WORLD on the sidelines of the tech trade show CES in the American city of Las Vegas: "The future is autonomous."
Lim's liquefied natural gas freighter is set to become the world's first large ship to sail self-propelled on the high seas. Not steered by a captain and his crew, but by algorithms, satellites and sensors. The market for such ships is apparently large: according to analysts, it could exceed $230 billion by 2028, with the strongest growth in Europe.
That's because the seas have no lane markings for the ship's computer to orient itself by. Moreover, the surface is not smooth like a motorway. There are waves and currents. The wind must also be taken into account. And near the coast, fishing boats or leisure sailors can suddenly get in the way of the freighters - the equivalent of a careless pedestrian.
For watercraft - as with cars - there are several levels of autonomous driving. Lim's liquefied gas giant operates at level two as defined by the World Maritime Organisation (IMO): the algorithms set the course, avoid obstacles and bypass bad weather, but there are seafarers on board who can take control at any time. Level two is the highest currently permitted in international waters under IMO rules.
HHI Group hosted a press conference for international press as well as Korean journalists at its exhibition booth located at LVCC’s West Hall on January 5.
At the press conference, CEO Chung said, “I am proud of the past 50 years of HHI Group, which has laid the groundwork for the growth of the world. In the next 50 years, we will become the world’s best “Future Builder” and create new growth that is more sustainable, smarter, and more inclusive, something we have never seen before.”
CEO Chung’s presentation was followed by the presentations about the visions and goals related to “Future Builder” by Hyogyeong Joo, Engineer of Avikus; Sungjoon Kim, Head of Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) ‘s Advanced Research Center; and Michael Ryu, Chief Strategy Officer of Clue Insights, Hyundai Doosan Infracore’s AI solutions provider.