Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Ferry Sunflower are to conduct trials using the Berthing Aid system, currently under development by Furuno Electric.
The vessel to be used is the ropax ’Sunflower Gold’, which sails on the Kobe/Oita route.
Furuno’s Berthing Aid system measures the exact distance and angle between the hull and the pier, based on information obtained from LiDAR and satellite compasses. The results are displayed on multiple screens.
This system was developed to improve the safety and efficiency of berthing operations, which were conventionally conducted visually by the crew based on their experience.
During the trials, MOL and Ferry Sunflower will verify the usability of the system, for example, how crew members can understand the displayed measurement results when looking at the screen.
The two MOL Group companies also aim to support the development and commercialise a system taking into account safety from a crew members’ point of view by exchanging opinions with the ropax Master and crew.
Trials will be conducted on the 716 pax ‘Sunflower Gold’ starting this month and will last until March next year.
MOL also conducted trials of this system in the MOL-led autonomous sailing on a commercial containership and car ferry project earlier this year, as part of the unmanned ship project, backed by The Nippon Foundation.
Based on the results from these trials, MOL and Sunflower are simplifying the system installation on the ropax to improve its usability in advance of its commercial roll out.