ClassNK releases Guidelines for Concept Design of Automated Operation/Autonomous Operation of ships

01 June 2018 – Leading classification society ClassNK has released its Guidelines for Concept Design of Automated Operation/Autonomous Operation of ships. These guidelines incorporate basic elements on concept design safety for automated ship operation systems.

In the automobile field, research and development on automated driving systems is being conducted worldwide. In the maritime industry, efforts towards the development of automated operation systems for ships are being made aiming to improve navigation safety, working conditions onboard, ship operation, and more. This development of automated operation systems is expected to be achieved step by step for merchant ships in order to support their crews, except in some cases.

As the onboard operations and duties performed by ships’ crews vary widely, design developments for automated ship operation are expected to be carried out under various conditions and concepts. It is essential to clarify the targeted operations/duties that would be automated, distinguish the division of roles between the crew (humans) and the automated operation systems (machines), and establish common understanding between everyone involved in the operation of the ship.

In light of the above, ClassNK developed these Guidelines with safety in mind in order to address the elements which must be considered in the concept design of automated ship operation systems. As there will likely be a variety of different design developments when it comes to the automated operation of ships, the Guidelines have been tentatively published as a “provisional version” which will be finalized through proper review and revision after being applied for a certain period of time. ClassNK also plans to develop further guidelines for various stages on the automated operation of ships from development of design to actual operation.

The guidelines are available to download free of charge via ClassNK’s website for those who have registered for the ClassNK “My Page” service. To register for the “My Page” service free of charge, go to the ClassNK website and click on the “My Page Login” button.


For more information on this topic please contact:

ClassNK Research Institute
Tel: +81-3-5226-2737