ABS and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) are to work together on a series of autonomous projects.

ABS specialists will work with HHI’s Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE) and its autonomous navigation subsidiary, Avikus, to integrate autonomous and remote-control functions into vessels. The work will be carried out in compliance with requirements outlined in the ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote Control Functions. The Guide provides a mix of goal-based and prescriptive requirements set against a wider risk-based approach.

ABS and HHI signed a Strategic Framework Agreement at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which will lead to a series of Joint Development Projects (JDPs).

“Autonomous vessels will have a significant role to play in the future of maritime transportation, but they will need to be at least as safe as existing vessels,” John McDonald, ABS executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement announcing the joint agreement. “It will take extensive research and development activity, teamwork and sharing of expertise among the leading maritime players to get us there. That’s why this agreement is a game changer, as it unites ABS’ insight with HHI’s expertise to develop practical applications of the technology,”

“It is very meaningful to work on long-term joint development of autonomous ships with ABS. This is a key topic in the future of shipbuilding and of the maritime industry,” said Sung Joon KIM, CTO of KSOE. “We look forward to comprehensive cooperation for the development of practical autonomous ships, including safety management, and remote control, along with the advancement of navigation automation technology, led by HHI group.”

ABS has been working with leading companies on autonomous and remote-control vessel projects all over the world. Together these projects informed development of the ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote Control Functions.