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World’s first autonomous commercial ship voyage completed

orca ai

The first autonomous commercial ship voyage in congested waters has been made by Orca AI, partnering with the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ships (DFFAS) and The Nippon Foundation.

According to Hellenic Shipping News, the trip was successfully completed after 40 hours of navigation, with full autonomy 99 percent of the journey’s time.

The trip was made by cargo ship Suzaku, a 749 gross ton vessel chosen for the project by the DFFAS, comprising 30 Japanese companies and led by NYK group company – Japan Marine Science Inc. (JMS) and MTI.Co., Ltd.

During the trial, the ship automatically performed 107 collision avoidance moves on the outbound voyage, with the program director at DFFAS saying that the system avoided a total of 400 to 500 ships. The voyage, which started from Tokyo Bay – one of the most congested routes in the world – sailed towards the port of Tsumatsusaka in the Ise Bay, according to the news report.

Yarden Gross, co-founder and CEO of Orca AI, told Hellenic Shipping News, “We are honored to collaborate with the DFFAS consortium led by NYK group to drive automation and autonomous capabilities in commercial ships in some of the most congested waters in the world.

The world’s first commercial autonomous voyage is a significant milestone in this journey and we expect to see big shipping companies implementing advanced AI and computer vision technologies to materialize the autonomous shipping vision”.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services