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Joint research on autonomous ships risk

(Posted on 28/03/21)

Leading classification society ClassNK has begun joint investigative research with Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (Sompo Japan) on risk assessment of autonomous ships.

Global efforts are accelerating toward the practical use of technology for autonomous operation in the field of ships, as this may be a promising way to improve safety by preventing human error related to ship maneuvering and working conditions by reducing the work load of crew members. With the implementation of demonstration projects and development of the guidelines led by the government, the framework for safety evaluation is in progress in Japan. As a verification body for ensuring ship safety, ClassNK conducts research and development for the safety evaluation and setting standards for autonomous operation technology, and is also involved in efforts by the government, research institutes, corporates, etc. related to such technology from a safety and technology standpoint.

Sompo Japan and the Society have begun joint investigative research on the risk assessment of autonomous ships, as the above guidelines mention risk assessment as one of the points to be considered for ensuring the safety of autonomous ships. Utilizing the Society’s knowledge of ships, and Sompo Japan’s knowledge on risks associated with ship operation and management based on underwriting ship insurance, as well as the knowledge on risk assessment for the practical application of autonomous vehicles cultivated by SOMPO Risk Management Inc., which is in charge of risk management operations in the SOMPO Group, they will carry out optimal risk assessment for autonomous ships by researching and sharing their knowledge. They began their research in February 2021 and aim to announce the results within 2022 and utilize them in their own businesses.

Through the results of various partnerships, ClassNK will reinforce its knowledge of risk assessment as a classification society and strive to contribute to the social implementation of autonomous ships.

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